We spent Season Two as we had the previous football season: texting each other throughout the games and trashing even the woman-owned teams for having better players than we did. By the end of the season we placed fifth and sixth on the Leader Board; an improvement over the previous year, but certainly not where we wanted to be. Kristy and I experienced the same let down when football season ended, and made serious attempts to explain to our friends how much fun we were having playing Fantasy Football.
Finally, Kristy was successful in recruiting four female friends from her workplace to join us in Season Three. “They don’t know much about Fantasy Football but we can help them, Mom.” I felt like I’d made the grade; I was good enough to help her friends learn the game. When Draft Day came, we joined a ten team league, six of which were owned by women. I was the only one who didn’t know the other female Team owners, but Kristy remedied that by providing virtual introductions and an invitation to share contact information among the six of us. After sharing email addresses and phone numbers, I began receiving and sending text messages from, and to, six different women during a football game. An almost immediate camaraderie developed among us. Sundays were the best day of the week: the first game started at 1 pm, the second at 4:20 and the final game was televised at 8:30 pm. When my cell phone began to ping, my husband commented “here we go again. It’s Fantasy Football Day.”
Kristy assumed the role of League Leader for our group of women-owned teams, reminding new players of their responsibilities prior to game time, giving advice about which players to start, who to trade, and which players were persona non grata. She insisted that Team Owners adopt and demonstrate high moral standards when choosing players. “We don’t condone violence against women and children.” Whenever an NFL player was arrested for domestic violence of any kind, she repeated her mantra to the Team Owners. She didn’t care how good the player was; anyone who played him or chose him for their Fantasy Team got a not-so-subtle rebuke by email which was copied to all the rest of us. There was no privacy for the offender, which served as a warning to all the rest of us.
On a less serious note, Kristy created and distributed Kristy’s Kernels, a weekly communiqué she emailed to the women Team Owners. In it, she re-hashed the week’s games, identifying winners, losers and poking fun at those of us who had blundered in our player choices. Her on-line postings were always hilarious. The Owners would then retort or otherwise acknowledge her summary with Reply All. Cheerful, silly correspondences went back and forth for days afterwards. I soon had many new virtual friends to joke with. While Kristy and I both wanted to win, we felt a responsibility to ensure our new members had a positive experience playing Fantasy Football, and were careful not to hurt any feelings.
A female camaraderie developed which was supportive, and never mean-spirited. We saved the mercilessness for the male-owned teams. Kristy and her colleagues talked & laughed together in the workplace on Mondays while other employees eavesdropped and became interested in what all the fun was about. A male employee approached Kristy about joining our league. Ha! That was a non-starter. Her goal, and one we all shared, was to recruit an all female Fantasy Football league for Season Four.
Season Three ended with one of the season’s new recruits winning first place in the league. We all shared in her joy and congratulated her roundly. A most surprising and delightful consequence of Season Three was, for me, the circle of virtual friends I had become part of. Finally, what began as near daily communication with Kristy about Fantasy Football developed into a relationship between us that desires and requires daily contact regardless of the time of season.
I won the Fantasy Football prize!
Kristy in her Mahomes jersey