OK, I'm going to write this...right now. It might start out slow, but it gets better.
This year was my fourth year of playing fantasy football. A few of my friends from college play fantasy football, and so they and I along with a few of their family members have a fantasy football league. Most of the people in there are fairly knowledgable, but I doubt any of them spend nearly as much time on it as I do. So of course, I hold myself to a high standard of fantasy football play. My goal this year was to win the league...normally it is to just make the playoffs, but since I had finished second for two straight years, I really wanted to win. I made a lot of good moves during the season...finding good players like Drew Brees, Nate Burleson, Willis McGahee, and Michael Pittman on the waiver wire helped. They pretty much saved my season after having a draft that I thought would tear the other teams apart totally bust on me. All of my starting WR's totally sucked (even Ward...Roethlisberger killed him this year), and Travis Henry got screwed over by Buffalo stinking up the NFL in the first half of the year. Even Ahman Green underperformed much more than I thought he would this year. Luckily I did draft Reggie Wayne (as a backup...haha) who benefitted greatly from Peyton Manning's record setting year. I also drafted Julius Jones who might have done really well had he not busted his shoulder blade a few weeks into the year. I got him back the week he returned, so no harm no foul there.
Anyway, I made the playoffs (of course) as the #1 seed. But, I was playing a team in the semis that started out really poorly but had players that were really heating up. From the looks of the team, I assumed I was dead meat - I assumed correctly
. No matter how much you work at getting to the playoffs, there's nothing you can do when you run into a hot team and have players that underperform in the one or two weeks you need them to do well. I must also blame myself though...I benched a number of players who did better than the guys I started. At least I salvaged a win in the 3rd place game in order to make the top three. Still, it was my worst ever fantasy finish.
I also was involved in a so-called "junk league" that I attempted a weird draft strategy in (that didn't work). By the end of the year, I had the same team as my other league plus/minus a few players. I started out 3-4 and was in 7th place after week 7. I then rattled off 7 straight wins
to get the #1 seed and the top point total for the regular season. In the first round of the playoffs, I was against the Manning owner. I wasn't too thrilled with Drew Brees' chances in snowy-as-hell Cleveland, so I picked up Billy Volek for the week. If you can't remember, he pretty much had the best fantasy day any QB had all year. He threw for 4 TD's, ran for a TD, and threw for almost 500 yards. Had I not used him, I would have lost.
So, I figured in the Fantasy Bowl I would stay with the "hot hand." Boy, was I wrong about that move
. Brees threw 3 TD's, and Volek got me negative points thanks to his 100 yard, 0 TD, 2 INT performance. He went from best week ever to worst timing ever. I lost the championship game by three points. Much like the other league, I benched players I normally used for better matchups, and it blew up in my face. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off at myself there, too. Next year, I don't care who my guys are playing in the fantasy playoffs - if they were on my team for the majority of the year, they are getting used. That way I can live and die by the guys who got me to the playoffs. Four years of fantasy football - One win, three seconds, and a third in five tries. I'd say that's a pretty good indication that I'm doing something right in the game.
Thanks, Billy...you went from stud to dud in one week's time.
Now onto what you all come to read - me ranting about some horrible thing that happened to me.
We had the day off work the Monday after Christmas. My mom had an appointment scheduled with a doctor in Pittsburgh that day, and I was the only person available to drive her to the hospital. The words "me," "drive," "Pittsburgh," and "hospital" do not ever, ever
go together. As you are all aware, I have a disdain of driving anywhere...especially unfamiliar areas and/or big cities. I'm really surprised I managed to drive to Maryland for the Cafe Picnic last year. Mom told me the hospital was "right off the interstate," and since that phrase is in my driving vocabulary, I figured it wouldn't be too bad.
So, I got up at 7 AM (on my day off) to get ready to drive to the hospital. We had to pick up my grandmother because mom didn't want me to be sitting there by myself. The test she had to take was only supposed to take a half an hour (that's real-world time, not hospital time), so I really didn't know if it was necessary...but, I do what I have to. There I am, driving down Interstate 79 to get to the hospital in Pittsburgh. The traffic really wasn't bad most of the way down there, but I still unduly nervous. This is where the story takes an aside...
I have a problem controlling stressors, and my body always finds interesting ways to deal with it. I don't generally get nervous in the normal way (butterflies); I have to take it to the extreme. When I was in high school competing in speech and debate, we would go on these long bus rides down 79 into Pittsburgh. This was when 79 was in really bad shape. There was a crack in the road at a completely measurable interval for a long stretch of road. You would sit there while the tires went "bumbahDUM...bumbahDUM...bumbahDUM...etc." for 5 straight miles. I would feel OK and I wouldn't be thinking about the tournament, but my subconcious mind knew that I was going to be competing in something. So, said subconcious mind decided to make me throw up several times going down to these tournaments. I was then forced to take some sort of motion sedative before the trip for a few years. It never seemed to put me to sleep, but at least I wasn't barfing
Then a few years ago, I was forced to work long shifts at work in order for us to catch up on piled up work. We couldn't control it since someone just quit, and our company had just acquired a large account that doubled the sample testing load. I didn't really mind working 11 or 12 hours a day, and once again, I didn't really think about it at all. My body sure didn't like it, though. After doing that for about a month, I started developing weird reactions as soon as I stepped into the warehouse at work. My armpits would get itchy, and at about 6 AM every night (I was working straight afternoon-midnight shifts) I would start having difficulty breathing. It was like some invisible person came to the lab at that specific time every day and started choking me. I went to the doctor for that little problem...what a surprise - it was a stress related illness.
Back to the story at hand...the whole trip had me a little on edge, and another new stress response showed up - I had this pain that made me feel like that guy having chest pains in the Life Call commercial ("I've fallen, and I can't get up!" - Mrs. Fletcher). I don't think it was as bad a response as the not breathing well or the chunk blowing, but it was not at all pleasant. At one point during the trip, Interstate 79 splits into two parts - 79 and 279. I knew this, but since I didn't know where the hospital was, I asked my mom whether I was supposed to stay on 79 or go onto 279. She told me to stay on 79, so I stayed in my lane and continued on. About two miles later, my mom says, "I don't think we're supposed to be on this road." My stress level immediately jumped into warp overdrive
. I started spazzing out on my mom (with my grandmother in the car, remember). How she could not remember how to get a place she has gone several times was beyond me.
So, I had to try to get back on 79 North, find an exit before 279 South, and get back on 79 South so I could take the exit for 279. I had to go through Cranberry (the suburb with almost all the big shopping centers and fast food restaurants outside of Pittsburgh) and its four lane drags in order to get back on 79. It wasn't bad, but it was not my idea of a detour. Then, once we hit the three lane part of 279, it started to look like Philadelphia highways to me. Cars were going every which way and cutting across every lane to pass people. This is not my idea of fun
We finally got to the hospital at about 9:30. She didn't have to be there until 10, so the detour didn't mess us up too bad. So, mom got ready, and we sat in the waiting room. Now, if the test (which once again, was supposed to take 30 minutes) my mom was taking came back bad, then she would have to actually have a surgery done that day which would take an hour or two. I tried to fall asleep, but I couldn't get comfortable in the chair I was sitting in. We didn't hear anything during the first hour, so we were starting to think she was getting the other thing done. My grandmother went to the bathroom. About two minutes later, a nurse came by and called out my grandmother's last name. I really didn't think anything about it since I would assume if they were talking about my mom they would use my last name, plus it's a fairly common last name (Taylor), so I didn't say anything. No one responded, so the nurse left. A minute later, my grandmother comes back. I told her someone called her last name, but she didn't think anything of it either. Then we sat there for another hour.
At this point, I was getting a little mad that no one told us what was going on. About fifteen minutes later, a nurse called out my last name (pronounced incorrectly of course - apparently people don't know how to say "vines" or "dines" or "lines," because you'd think the name "Sines" would be pronounced the same way as those words. Instead, people insist on saying it like the word "sins." You'd think no one would have wanted that as a last name, so why do you think that's how it's said?). So, we go down the hall into this hospital room, and there is my mother...still sitting there...waiting to have the original test done
. It was supposed to be done at 10 AM, and it was now 12:15 PM. So, she had been sitting there for two hours by herself while we sat in the waiting room for nothing. Classic Mercer Boy life story.
So, we then sat and talked for a while. 1 PM came and went. 1:30 PM did the same. By the time 2 PM rolled around, my mom was getting really mad. She got out of the bed and demanded to know why she hadn't been taken for the test yet. The nurse's lame excuse: "The doctor isn't seeing people in order today." What the heck does that mean?
All she had to say was, "There are people dying or are sicker than you, so you will have to wait." But no, they pull the stewardess angle on you to try to make you feel more at ease. About 20 minutes later, she finally was taken for the test. I then told my grandmother that there was no way she would be done with the test before 3:30. What do you know...at about 3:30 the doctor came out to tell us the results. She was OK (about the only good news of the whole day) and there weren't any major problems. He then says, "So, we'll let her lay still for three hours
and then get her up to eat." That totally made my day an official "day from hell."
We went back up to the room where mom was and watched TV for three hours. I could not sit in those chairs; I was sitting on the hard carpeted floor for about two and a half hours watching a tsunami attempt to swallow up a bunch of people. At 6:30 PM mom got up, and they started giving her food. She cannot eat very fast because of her health problems, so it took her about an hour to eat all the stuff they were giving her. I hadn't eaten all day either, so I was eating most of the stuff she couldn't eat. Finally around 7:45 PM, she was allowed to leave. That meant that a supposed 30 minute exam took us approximately nine hours to complete. Don't you love hospital time? I sure didn't. I almost went on the wrong road to get home due to some slow direction dictation, but I managed to find my way to 279.
After we dropped off my grandmother, I got a sub at Sheetz and drove home. We got home at 9:00 PM which meant I was either driving or in a hospital for 13 hours. I didn't even bother to watch the football game that was on...Philly using all its reserve players vs. St. Louis really didn't appeal to me. I had about all I could stand for that day anyway; why make it even more dismal by watching a game where one team didn't even bother to try? I went to sleep shortly thereafter since I had to get up at 6:45 AM the next day to go to work. What a great way to prepare to go back to work on a day that was supposed to be a "vacation." Now I know how Chevy Chase felt...kind of.
"Sorry folks, we're not taking patients in order today...uh huh uh huh uh huh..."
I hope that was enough of a return to blogging form for my loyal readers. Now that the fantasy football season is over, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things. Later days...