Labor Day weekend becomes ultimate fantasy

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, which means several important things. For starters, only two months left of summer! Or three months, depending on whether or not the scorpion sees its shadow. Also, we should take time over the weekend to give thanks for the labor unions and a political appeasement process that feared another Pullman Strike for making this extra day off possible. (If that sounded smart, please be aware that I just, like two seconds ago, looked up “Labor Day” on Wikipedia. And I am a history major.) More importantly, of course, Labor Day marks the beginning of football season.

Football season creates an interesting dynamic in our household. To be more specific, my wife greatly dislikes football. And that’s real football I’m referring to, so you can imagine how she feels about my love for fake football.

The Saturday of Labor Day weekend is, you see, the occasion of my annual fantasy football draft. This was a much easier thing to partake in when we lived back east and didn’t have a child, and I could actually attend the draft in person while my wife was free to do as she pleased. Now I must participate in the draft via a four-hour long video conference that is smack dab in the middle of what could potentially be, were it not for the draft, a fun-filled family outing. Instead I fumble through pages of research while my daughter, who thinks every video chat features her grandparents, tries to understand why the group of men sitting in silence while drinking beer and sharing a six-foot long sub are not paying attention to her. Then she will press buttons on the computer and disconnect the feed. Then I will reconnect the feed and continue waiting for my cousin Mark to pick a third wide receiver. It is awesome!

This weekend, however, we actually are embarking on a family get-together with friends we haven’t seen in many years who are traveling to see us. You can imagine how excited my wife is that I will be interrupting this family time so I can spend four hours drafting a fake football team. Nevertheless, I think everyone will be excited to witness my draft choices. Will I take Kevin Kolb or John Skelton? Just kidding, I am going to take a real quarterback.

The most important thing about the fantasy draft is that is it’s the lead-in to the actual season, which means my wife’s discontent moves from “draft” to “football Sundays.” Like the draft, football Sundays were much easier to swallow when they involved going to my in-law’s, where she could do whatever while I watched football with my brothers-in-law. Now that we have our own family in Arizona, football Sundays mostly involve statements like, “Do these games ever end?” and “How are you drinking a beer at 10 in the morning?” and “What’s the matter?” (Note: What’s the matter is that my fantasy team is doing terrible.)

All that gloriousness that I just described begins this weekend. It should be mentioned that Labor Day weekend also marks the end of my fantasy baseball regular season, so you can imagine how much I have at stake here. I do fear that one year my wife may go on a strike of her own, at which point I will be forced to make concessions. Like I might have to convince everyone to kick Mark out of the league, because he takes way too long.

Note: This column appears in the 8/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/31 issue of the Peoria Times.