The Story of how I got into DFS
I was picking my son up from school when I heard the announcement on the car radio, “Play fantasy sports on our site…” The melancholic bubble usually associated with my Tuesdays burst, and money-colored rainbows filled the air around me. I pulled into the school parking lot, lining up behind the sea of metal, guided by orange cones. My hands were now shaking with adrenaline. Sure, I hated sports more than anything, but I loved the idea of winning a big fantasy tournament. I daydreamed a little bit, envisioning what I would do with my winnings. A loud honking horn behind me knocked me out of my daze and I pulled forward further in the line. I waved at a few of the students who were getting onto one of the buses. They hopped onto their ticket home without acknowledging my gesture. “It’s him again!” I once again awoke from my DFS dreams, this time a loud voice and familiar face stood by my car. It was the safety monitor. The tires of my car screeched as I drove out of the line of cars and out towards the highway. I had once again forgotten that I didn’t have a son, but this time there would be a happy ending. I would be setting my very first DFS lineup tonight.
Back at home I fixed my usual dinner: 6 egg whites, a shot of whiskey, a steak, a potato, and a thing of onion rings. I needed familiarity. To truly complete my ensemble I always put a dollop of mayonnaise on the eggs. I opened my refrigerator and noticed the mayo was gone. Then it hit me – Joshie borrowed my mayo 3 weeks ago. Now this might seem like a very fixable dilemma, but it gets more complicated as Joshie was on vacation in Arizona this week. I screamed upstairs to my father, “Dad, I’m going out for a few days.”
Living in Minnesota, I was accustomed to the highway that would take me most of the way there, 35, so I pulled on, rolled down the windows, and let the September breeze caress my hair. Joshie was camping in Arizona at a reservation. Joshie and I had been acquaintances for a few years. We worked the same grocery store job stocking shelves in 2006. I had my trip planned out pretty well. Was going to grab a hotel once I hit Kansas City. Then to save a little cash take a nap or two on the side of the road in New Mexico. It was a perfect path to Arizona.
I pulled into the first hotel I found in Kansas City and rented a room on the 3rd floor, as I feel safer off the ground floor in hotels. I unpacked my pajamas and had a glass of warm milk. I decided to look over my lineup before going to bed. The confusing statistics wore me out, and I quickly tired. The images on the computer screen went a little blurry and then faded black as I drifted off…
BOOOM BOOM BOOOOOM! My door exploded, a fist pounding the wood. “Hey man, you gotta get out here!” I heard a voice shout. I grabbed my glasses and checked the alarm clock near my bed. “3:25 in the morning, are you kidding me?” I whispered under my breath. I zipped up my PJ’s and went to the peephole. I looked through to see a tattoo of a snake on the arm of a giant man. He had a bald head and a long thick moustache. He was wearing sunglasses, a weird choice indoors. “Can I help you?” I asked quietly. “Look man, there’s like a bunch of bugs or something crawling around outside your door. If you don’t come out here and help me squish all of them, they might get in and then there’s nothing I can do.” I hated bugs, so naturally I flung the door open. “I don’t see any bugs?” I asked him, confused. “You can’t see them dude, they’re microscopic or something. But they’re on the carpet, I’ve been squishing them for hours.” He reassured me. He seemed like a trustworthy guy, so I decided he must be telling the truth. We stomped the invisible bugs in the hall for an hour or two until the police came from the noise complaints. The moustached man argued with the cops, explaining the situation. Unfortunately the police didn’t understand that the bugs were there, just very hard to see. I got back into my warm bed and tried to get some sleep before my big day of driving ahead of me.
I woke up to the smell of coffee from down the hall. I made a cup for myself and hit the road. As I drove to visit Joshie on his vacation in Arizona, I couldn’t help visualizing myself holding a DFS trophy. I pulled into a campsite where my GPS had located Joshie. I got out of my car and walked for a few miles closer to the tents. Joshie was talking with a girl with dreadlocks when I saw him. He looked up and basically freaked out when he saw me. “What? What are you doing here dude?” He asked. “You took my mayo, I was going to eat dinner and realized my mayo was gone.” I said. “No, don’t you remember? Your dad brought it with him to work a day ago.” The moment he said it I knew he was right. I bolted toward my car without saying another word. I was no longer on a peaceful drive with beautiful sites to see. Instead I was in a world of speed and anger, zooming by other cars aggressively, clutching the steering wheel like a sword. “Dad, if you honestly think you can pull this kind of crap and get away with it…” I mumbled as I drove, increasing my speed.
A little over 20 hours later I arrived back at home. “Dad? Where is it dad, I know you have my mayo!” No response. I rumbled up the stairs, smashing pictures off the wall as I ran, tears of anger now streaming down my face. His door was shut, no surprise, the little mayo thief. I stepped back, took a deep breath, and slammed my foot as hard as I could into it. The door unhinged and fell sideways into the side of the inner wall. I threw his laptop as hard as I could against the mirror. Glass shattered and sprayed the room. “Is this funny to you dad? You bring me into the world just to ruin everything I stand for?” I took a giant knife from the kitchen and tore open his mattress, feathers and fluffy cotton flew everywhere. I punched holes in the wall and broke the window in his room. And then, after minutes of crazy foraging through his bedroom, I saw it. Sitting peacefully in the bathroom cabinet, a jar – MY JAR – of mayo. I squeezed it, hoping the inevitable wasn’t true. Nothing. Not a drop of mayo came out. I ran outside, gripping the bottle so hard my hand almost bled. I kneeled on the grass of the front lawn and completely gave in to my emotions, watering the lawn with my tears. Just when I thought my life was basically over, I heard the words ‘BINGO’ jump into my head. It wasn’t so much an exclamation of precision, but a reminder of the literal game of Bingo. I remembered my dad played Bingo at the bar at nights.
It was storming as I drove furiously towards the bar to find my dad. I entered the building as loudly as I could, but no one noticed as they hunkered down, hoping to strike big and win a few pounds of meat. I located my dad in the corner of the room, blotting his scorecard while he took sips of yellow beer. “Dad, I am so furious with you, you have no idea what you put me through”. He looked at me surprised, as if he had no idea what I was talking about. “Son, I have no idea what you’re upset about, but I have good news. I won a bingo tonight. What say you and me go grab a few stacks of pancakes from Perkins.” It was impossible to stay mad amidst his great news, and so I waited for him to complete his game and headed with him to Perkins.
We always got the same waitress at Perkins, Sherry. Sherry was an older woman who loved talking to my dad. She actually thought his jokes were funny, which was pretty uncommon. “Let me guess, couple stacks of cakes for the boys?” She asked. My dad laughed, “Oh Sherry, you’re a real card.” Sherry went into the kitchen and we took our seats. She came back with plates and napkins. I figured I should ask her, “Hey Sherry, I’m going to be a millionaire someday. Have you heard of DFS?” She looked at me as if I was speaking nonsense. “Eat your pancakes, they’re going cold!”
The car ride home was mostly silent. My dad was probably too full to talk, and I was reminiscing about my recent trip. After about 20 minutes of straight silence, I asked him, “Dad, would you be mad if I accidentally destroyed your bedroom?” I don’t really remember the rest of that day. It involved my dad yelling a bunch at me, threatening to call the cops, and eventually Joshie even called my dad to tell him he was concerned about me. I sat in front of my computer that night ready to click the ‘submit’ button for the first time in my life. I entered an NFL lineup, sat back, and waited for game time.