Well, merry belated Christmas to everyone. The extended weekend that led up to Christmas was a special one this year for two reasons – 1. I won my first fantasy football championship Sunday evening (thanks Seattle!) and 2. Watching our 10-month-old daughter, Britta, experience her first Christmas was priceless. While it took her some time to figure out the wrapped boxes were meant to be ripped open, she added more than a few toys to her growing stash of all things that blink, twirl, sing-a-song, bounce or make noise when banged against the floor. I now know what it feels like to be a parent on Christmas morning, which is absolutely priceless. Besides the materialistic things associated with the holiday, seeing the way she reacts to great-grandpa with a huge smile and clapping hands is fun and is really the ultimate gift.
The season hit a fever pitch the Friday before Christmas as the parents were invited to day care where Santa made an appearance. Since Britta is the youngest, we learned about this fear of Jolly Old St. Nick. Since she hadn’t met Santa in person, she didn’t have a reason to cry on his lap. After reading a couple of holiday classics, he brought her a cool flashlight that I know will be a hit as we explore the backyard once the temps return above freezing.
Back to fantasy football. While I was on parenting leave this summer, I made it a point to enter as many football pick ’em tournaments and, of course, two more fantasy football teams, one was for money and the other for simple bragging rights.
As the sixth (and last) seed to make the playoffs in the pay-league thanks to a tie-breaker out of 10 teams, I was extremely fortunate to have a place in the playoffs. I can largely thank Seattle’s special teams and defense (54 points in three playoff games) combined with Drew Brees’ 750-plus yards with seven touchdowns over the last two weeks as well as receivers like Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, T.Y. Hilton, Brandon Lloyd, Cecil Shorts or Jason Witten. I was relegated to use Steven Ridley and Bryce Brown (ouch! I know.) at running back after Fred Jackson and Michael Bush were placed on injured reserve, but unless you had Adrian Peterson or someone cleaning up on goal line carries, points were tough to come by. I drafted David Wilson and Payton Hillis and both were off my roster by Week 4.
Enough with the line-up breakdown. I knocked off the top seed thanks to Brees scoring 23 points while Seattle and Julio Jones each posted 14 points en route to a 73-45 win.
With the fortune of my team coming through for me over the last month, I only hope the Vikings can do the same and come through with a win against Green Bay this weekend, followed by a deep run into the playoffs. Going from 3-13 to either 9-7 or 10-6 is a remarkable turnaround, but in the NFL it isn’t that much of a shock because of how often personnel changes take place on teams and the slim margin between the good and bad franchises.
Jason Olson is at firstname.lastname@example.org