Are you ready for some IMPROOOV?!?!

I’m extremely excited about our show tonight at Anthony’s Bar and Grill in South Amboy. We’ve had some really good workshops lately, and I’m very happy with a lot of the stuff we’ve been doing. I know I haven’t been in the troupe long, but I’m very proud of it.

The things is, this show is on a Sunday. And Sunday, in the fall, in the United States, means one thing: football.

Of all the things I obsess over in this thing we call life, football is definitely in the top 36. It’s somewhere above English muffin pizza and below late 80s professional wrestlers. There’s nothing more enjoyable, in my mind, than wasting a beautiful fall afternoon by slowly poisoning yourself with massive quantities of beer and Doritos while watching large men in tight pants fight over an oblate spheroid made of Wilbur from Green Acres. Add in a comfy pair of sweats and the occasional mustard flavored pretzel chances are good that I may never walk again.

This year, a co-worker invited me join his fantasy football league. I’d never played fantasy football before. I think the name, “fantasy football”, was a always something of a turn-off. To me, fantasy implies pointy hats, notepads upon notepads filled with statistics, twelve-sided die, and the stale odor of Mountain Dew. This is a combination that, due to my deathly allergy to Mountain Dew (the doctors tell me that my immunoglobulins are simply not extreme enough to handle it) I am reluctant to embrace. Also, I had a brief but bitter dalliance with fantasy baseball a number of years back. I used my first pick on Ken Griffey, Jr. He promptly dislocated his shoulder, and I stopped paying attention the league a week in.

Last year, however, I watched this gentleman participate in his league. I watched eagerly as he cheered for such luminaries of the gridiron as Michael Turner, Tony Romo, Andre Johnson, and Connor Barth. This, I thought, was fun. Why, this fine gentleman has someone to cheer for in every game! I envied his ability to be interested in a Seahawks-49ers game. Plus, he was playing for money. A twelve team league, thirty bucks a head to get in…why, if my math is correct, and I have reason to believe it is, that’s roughly $4800 in prize money! So, when I had a chance to join the league this year, I eagerly signed up.

I realized that this would be an unhealthy obsession right off when it came time to name my team. I thought that my name should convey masculinity, a bit of braggadocio, and a razor sharp sense of humor. In other words, I wanted to team name to be everything that I personally am not.

Whenever I need to name something and I can’t think of anything, I throw a Simpsons reference at it. You might think that’s a stupid way to go through life, but my gerbil, Super Nintendo Chalmers, seems quite happy. I quickly named my team “Pin Pals”, thinking that would be it.

Then I realized most of the other teams in the league were football references. And they were funny! How does Pin Pals measure up to such wonderful names as “Show Me Your TDs” and “3rd Down Syndrome”. I quickly realized I needed a new name, so that I could be one of the guys. But what to name it?

“I know!”, I thought. “I’ll name it after a player!”. But what name would be the best? The Boldin The Beautiful? Somewhere Over the Dwayne Bowe? Favre Dollar Footlongs? Kibbles and Vick? I settled on “No Romo”. This way, I can both mock my least favorite team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, and be casually homophobic at the same time.

Then, it came time to draft my team. Somehow, I ended up with the number one pick. I went with Titans running back Chris Johnson. I figured that his explosive running ability and dreadlocks would be the type of deadly combination that would strike fear into the hearts of men. Next, I drafted Texans QB Matt Schaub. Then, realizing my team was in urgent need of a both a receiver and a headcase who could potentially melt down and take a school bus load of nuns hostage and bring them to a Carls Jr. and not cause anyone to bat an eye, I drafted Chad Ochocinco.

“Alright!”, I thought. “I’m ready for week one!”. I was optimistic going into week one. My week one opponent was forced to autodraft and was stuck with Ben Roethlisberger as his QB. With his starting QB spending the first four weeks of the season undergoing sensitivity training (PROTIP: DON’T RAPE), I thought this was an easy W.

Boy, was I ever wrong. This game is fucking agonizing. I won by less than a point, due only to the golden leg on Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding. After that, I went back to the drawing board, picked up a couple guys off of waivers, shuffled my line-up around, and felt fully confident that I’d come back with a strong Week 2.

Except that I got my ass kicked on Week 2. I’m talking a New Orleans Saints vs. Sayreville Leprachauns ass kicking. For those of you not familiar with the finer points of Central Jersey Pop Warner ball, imagine the famous fight scene from They Live: my opponent’s team with Keith David’s knee, and my team was Roddy Piper’s crotch. Week 3 was another squeaker, which thankfully I pulled out. But now, I’m on the verge of a total nervous breakdown. Y’see, Owen Daniels is my starting tight end. However, he’s questionable for this week. My backup is Kellen Winslow, but he’s on a bye week. Two of my wideouts are questionable, and my bench sucks. I’m going against Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and the Ravens defense.

As a result of this, football is not nearly as much fun for me. For now, when I watch football, my mouth goes dry. My heart beats a mile a minute in my chest, my palms sweat, and I go week in the knees. I lose all control of my mental functions, and say extremely stupid things.

In fact, now that I think about it, I’m looking at this all wrong. I’m clearly in love with fantasy football.

Remember: 7:30 pm tonight, Anthony’s Bar and Grill, South Amboy, 5 bucks (cheap!).

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