Thank You, Peyton: Team Puck Bunny for the Fantasy Football Win!

Last night, I became a Fantasy Football Champion. It was, if I may say, a Cinderella story.

(I’m actually the only person who’s said that, but I think it still counts…)

fantasy rankings

Look, Ma, I’m on top of the world/rankings!

Some said I jinxed myself writing about my fantasy domination. But that wasn’t boasting; it was straight-up incredulousness at this very bizarre anomaly. 

I owe much of this to the man, the myth, the legend Mr. Peyton Manning who, most weeks, was an absolute monster on the gridiron.

 

peyton manningHow can you not love this ridiculous guy?

All I ever asked of Peyton, and the rest of my team, was that they show up for the game. And most weeks they did. Like any team, when one player looked like he was struggling, others picked up the slack. Obviously these dudes didn’t actually know they were playing on a team together — and some weeks were playing against each other in real life — but I like to think that a very infinitesimally small part of them knew they were all Team Puck Bunny.

When you think about it, football is such a funny game. Every single play ends with two or more men throwing themselves into each other and falling dramatically on the ground. I can be quite clumsy, but, man, how does your body sustain such constant stress and battering? No wonder these guys can only manage to play one game a week, and sometimes just barely.

Most of all, I owe this victory and championship win to my brother Michael, who endured all of my fantasy panic and shared all of my fantasy excitement. Best brother ever.

me and michael
WINNERS!!!

 

Guys, I’m just waiting for a call from Coach Taylor to join his football coaching team.

PS: Hey Peyton, still waiting on your address to send you the most extravagant bouquet and also all of my worldly belongings because you deserve it, champ!

Santa Virgin, Or That Time I Visited Santa for the First Time At Age 22

I stepped off the escalator in apprehension. I was at the entrance of Macy’s SantaLand. I was steps away from the hallowed holiday tradition of visiting the head honcho of the North Pole. I knew that if I crossed that threshold, there would a fundamental shift in the cosmos. I was a Santa virgin.

SantaMacys

I had come to SantaLand in search of something that I had never experienced before. My parents had never taken me to visit Santa; I never had the joy of confiding my cherished Christmas gift wishes. Given that I am Jewish, I’ll forgive my parents for this injustice. Nevertheless, I felt that I had been denied a significant cultural experience.

I approached the entrance, where an elf cheerily beckoned passersby to “Come see Santa. There’s no line.” Apparently, SantaLand was not busy on weekdays. It was a Wednesday at 1:40 p.m.

I felt cheated. I had heard horror stories of waiting forever on the absurdly long line, of children screaming and crying, of the boredom and misery that must precede the joy of meeting Santa. I wanted my first time to be perfect, the quintessential Santa experience. I guess meeting Santa for the first time in your 20s is much like waiting to have sex until marriage: the longer you wait, the more you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Imagine if the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney Land went on a road trip and took a wrong turn north; trees with anthropomorphized faces and tiny bears helplessly swaying to and fro to Christmas songs amidst an overabundance of fake snow. Such is the spectacle of SantaLand.

Waiting in line, I was puzzled by the prevalence of old people. They presumably had learned decades ago that – ***UMMM…SPOILER ALERT?*** – Santa is not real. I suppose I had assumed that, like hanging out at the mall, after a certain age, it’s just tragic. I thought visiting Santa was reserved for parents who made their young children cry by forcing them to sit on the lap of a strange fat man for the family Christmas card.

While I had never personally experienced the joy of Santa, I had viewed many a Christmas-themed movie. I wondered what temperament of Santa I would encounter. I secretly hoped for the caustic, foul-mouthed Billy Bob Thornton Santa of Bad Santa. But given that I was at Macy’s SantaLand, I suspected that I would meet a Santa stone-faced committed to his Santa-ness.

A mere 20 minutes later, I found myself at the gateway to Santa’s village. Party of one; was the greeter elf judging me? I was uncomfortable enough at the idea of sitting on an old man’s lap. This is exactly the sort of behavior that I normally try to avoid when I go out to bars.

An elf named Munchkin led me to one of many Santa houses. Armed with my reporter’s notebook, I asked if I could interview Santa. A manager, Jeff, delivered the unfortunate news that I would have to arrange in advance to interview Santa. I was disappointed, but not surprised: even Santa has PR people.

I still had yet to sit on Santa’s lap. I reentered SantaLand, where the line was still disappointingly short. It took me 10 minutes to arrive once again at the gateway to Santa’s village.

An elf named Icicle took me to a different Santa house and asked me if I had been good this year.

“Does this face look like it could do anything bad?” I asked.

I asked her how long she had been working for Santa. She replied that she’s always working in the North Pole. I felt a little sad for her commitment to the elf persona.

Santa invited me to sit on his lap. I wondered how many others had been already today. I knew I wasn’t special but Santa was determined to make me feel so.

Santa asked me what I wanted. I had prepared for this query.

“It depends. What’s more viable – world peace or peace in the Middle East?” I asked.

Santa replied, “Both are kind of good, but Santa is so happy that you didn’t ask for some material thing like a Mercedes Benz or a necklace, something that Santa can’t always promise.”

He then launched into a rehearsed monologue about how Santa would always love me and bless me with peace, love, health and happiness. It only lasted 15 seconds, but I have never felt more uncomfortable in my life. How this man could recite this saccharine speech with a straight face to innumerable masses, young and old, day in and day out, simply amazed me.

I waited in line and purchased my photo with Santa. And then, having impressed Santa with my non-materialistic, humanitarian Christmas wish, I went off to peruse the Macy’s sales.

Searching for my Tim Riggins…

Maybe there’s no crying in baseball. But there is crying in football when football is Friday Night Lights

Confession: I watched 76 episodes of Friday Night Lights in 30 days. 

FNL

If anyone has been wondering where I’ve been, emotionally, for the past month, the answer is a Friday Night Lights-induced k-hole. I’m feeling a lot of EMOTIONS right now and need to talk about it. (No spoilers here, I promise!)

For a month, Friday Night Lights became the center of my universe. To the extent that you can eat, sleep, and breathe a television show, that is what happened with Friday Night Lights over the past month. If I was in my apartment, I was watching an episode, or three. My household chores fell by the wayside. There was even a week where I couldn’t get out of bed before I watched an episode (and was subsequently late to work every day). Basically I did what I would never do in real life, which is become that girl who spends all of her time with her new boyfriend and ignores all of her friends, but in this case, my new boyfriend was Friday Night Lights and my friends are all my primetime television shows that are currently airing.

It was reminiscent of when I read the first six books of the Harry Potter series in one month in 2005 (2,800 pages – yeesh, how did I do that?!) and I felt like I was legitimately dating Harry: I had a full-time job and was studying to take the GRE, but every free moment I had, I spent it “with him.” I suppose the corresponding analogy here is that watching Friday Night Lights was like I was dating the whole football team, but guys, I’m not that type of girl!

Friday Night Lights created a world of which you wanted to be a part. The show was about football, but at the same time football was entirely besides the point. I found myself mourning my missed opportunity of being a rally girl. I wanted to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I wanted be the daughter of a football coach. I wanted to work at The Landing Strip strip club (just kidding!). But when you have a show with such heart, and at its heart the dynamic duo of inspiring Coach Eric Taylor and straight-talking Tami Taylor, it feels like no matter what happens, everything is going to be ok.

I loved the characters so much that I only wanted the best for them. I wanted to turn off episodes where they were making bad choices that I didn’t agree with. I spent much of the middle of November distraught over Jason Street and his future. And I was so mad at Lyla Garrity for basically everything she ever did.

love triangle

And then, casting an angelic glow over everthing, there was Tim Riggins. Dear, sweet, beautiful Tim Riggins. Sometimes I would look at him and say “He’s not that hot,” and then I would blink and realize, “He actually is that hot, I just momentarily blacked out because the way he smiled through his perpetually greasy locks gave me a mini-stroke.” He was always going to be the hero of this story.

tim riggins

riggins

timriggins

Obligatory Tim Riggins photo series.

Clear eyes? Yes, except for when my eyes were obscured with tears flowing down my cheeks.

Full hearts? So full sometimes that it was bursting with affection for these characters.

Can’t lose? Your life will be forever enriched after watching this show.

clear eyes

If you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, you should do so immediately, though maybe not as intensely as I did. And if you have, we’re going to be friends forever.

Bonus: This is a picture that I took of myself after the series finale episode was over. SO MANY TEARS. 

me post FNLThis photo was not staged.