For the love of the game

Today, despite the hard work of Peyton Manning and Marquis Colston, despite a 6-2 rally to end the season, despite a ridiculous season from a handful of throwaway players destined for the scrap heap, my fantasy football season ended.

I’d say prematurely, but as a #4 seed, facing a team that outscored the rest of the league by a couple hundred points, this was in the cards all along. Then again, it might be a blessing. After all, now – more than any time during the season – I can actually sit and enjoy a game of football.

Without the ancillary anxiety. Without the constant updates. Eyes straight ahead, focused on the game, mocking the commercials, filtering out the sarcasm.

We all keep score on something. We all spend some part of our lives measuring up against someone else, against the ideal, looking for quantitative data to prove our worth. But, when it comes down to it, that data proves nothing. It throws up smoke, much as Ben Wallace’s diminutive scoring undermined his talent on the basketball court.

I just switched sports on you, I know. But, you see, it’s all an exercise in not keeping score. Now that I have nothing left to play for, I can enjoy the art and spectacle that professional football is.

Take that metaphor, and you can probably attach it to whatever you want. Industry awards. Popularity lists. Elections. The old Favrd community.

I know, I know. Awards, championships, blah f’n blah. You play to win the game and all of that. But when you’re not playing by the same goals in the first place, you’ve got the freedom to weasel out the competitiveness and land on something more pure.

I guess it’s called “the love of the game.”

This was lovingly handwritten on December 21st, 2009