This Is The PFL

Like most people, I enjoy sleeping in on Sunday mornings.

On a good Sunday, I’ll be able to maintain a connection with my bed until at least 10:00 a.m. I’ll drift and dream, snooze and snore, and ultimately snap into consciousness feeling like a million bucks. The good night’s sleep will usually send me out running before I hit the shower, allowing me to accomplish my exercise for the day before I’ve even had breakfast.

On a bad Sunday, I’ll wake up at 7:00 and just stare at the ceiling, contemplating when I should give in to the world of awake and drag my ass out of bed. On mornings like these, I’ll stumble over to the couch and plant myself in front of the TV set, where I’ll scroll through the usual garbage of weekend programming as I decide on whether I should a) go back to bed, b) shower, or c) run, so as not to personify the epic fail.

This latest edition of Sunday morning was destined for greatness. I was in the midst of a fantastic dream, which either had me saving the world in renegade fashion (i.e. fly-running — which is where you start running before you inexplicably take off and start flying — and beating up bad guys with a Louisville Slugger) or about to get laid. I can’t remember the exact context of the dream I was having, but these are the only two types of dreams that I consider to be quote-unquote fantastic.

I was deep in this state of bliss when my phone trilled, interrupting my glorious abstraction. I had a text message. I knew the sound by heart, even when I was asleep. I could doze through the sound my phone made when an email came through. But a text message beep was louder, more obnoxious, more grating. It could wake me from a state of unadulterated hibernation, regardless of how much ass I was either kicking or getting in the ambience of my lucid reverie.

Semi-alert, I reached out with my right hand and fumbled around for my phone. I knocked my glasses into oblivion before locating the intended target. Blindly, I unplugged my phone from its charger, then put the device in front of my face.

Lying on my back, immobile, and with no desire to move, I half-opened one eye and found myself face to face with a blurry image of my dog, Dug, on his birthday, wearing a party hat. On the screen, above Dug’s stoic mug was a text message notification. I tapped the display and clicked through to find the following message from my buddy Pete greeting me:

Peter Lawrence: Beanie Wells = vagina

Today 8:44AM

My first thought was, it’s 8:44 a.m on Sunday morning. Why is this bastard texting me?

To answer my own question, there’s only one reason my good friend Pete would ever text me this early on a Sunday morning. That reason is fantasy football. Frankly, if it were for anything else I’d be a little upset that my badass dream had been destroyed for a meaningless conversation. But there’s a mutual respect we all have for the world of fake sports.

By “we,” I mean the 12-man constituency of the Pearce Fantasy League. We’re not just friends who take each other’s money for pure enjoyment. We’re diehards who truly believe that beyond the PFL, little else matters. This conglomerate of fantasy sports glory is a testament to hard work, dedication, and loyalty. Without it, none of our dozen-person group would be whole.

We live and die by the league. We sacrifice for the league. We honor the sanctity of the league.

For an example of our commitment, take Pete’s recent vacation to Europe. Most people might stash their cell phones while out of the country, preferring to ignore all contact with the outside world while enjoying life. Not Pete. He spent a good chunk of his sabbatical texting me trade offers for Tom Brady. I indulged him with counter-offers, to which he would re-counter, until we each held out for half a month, hardballing the details on a transaction that would have included significant draft picks and a handful of other players. I wanted Kevin Kolb. He refused to part with Kolb. We approached other angles. It always came back to Kolb. And he wouldn’t budge. So neither would I.

By the time that Pete returned stateside, Kolb had been concussed and removed from his week one foray as Philadelphia’s new starting quarterback. Kolb’s departure from the lineup led to Pete’s demise at the hands of my Compton Honkies. I then spent the down time between weeks one and two giving Pete a hard time about reneging on any possible deal that included the now-irrelevant Eagles’ signal-caller. Pete, in turn, had spent the bitter days following his loss reminding me of all the lifeless malcontents on my roster. There was Percy Harvin, C.J. Spiller, and of course Wells. Which naturally led him to text me hate mail on a Sunday morning.

After my first thought was processed, my second thought was, if Pete is referring to Beanie as a female body part, it probably means that Beanie is ruled out for today’s game. As a member of the Honkies, Beanie had spent week one of the NFL season on the sidelines. It appeared from this message that the running back was destined to do the same in week two.

So there I was, more or less dead to the world, glancing lazily at this three-word message of demotivation. Rather than react, I put the phone down and closed my eyes. Indifferent, I attempted to nod back into slumber and recapture my fantastic dream when my mind kicked into action. I had a rebuttal. And I had to send it across to my enemy. Lest he get the last word in on my squad.

I picked up my phone. I clicked through to the text message, hit “Reply,” then began to type. Five words and a symbol. I sat up in bed. I hit “Send.” It was 8:45. Barely a minute had passed. My work was done.

Kevin Kolb = Beanie Wells’ tampon.

I even got the apostrophe in the right place. Considering the circumstances, it may have been my greatest comeback of all-time. I had yet to stand up and I was already in midday form, blasting sophomoric jokes like any man’s man is truly capable of. It was a win for the ages. My day was off to a great start.

To be clear, this isn’t some shameless attempt at self-efficacy. While there is a little bit of that, which I will not deny, this is a story more about camaraderie than anything else. Because without this league, we wouldn’t have jokes. We wouldn’t have zingers and one-liners and childish attempts at humor.

We’re more than a legion of statheads. And this is more than just fantasy football. It’s our creation, our devotion, our club, our hideout. This is our happiness. This is the PFL.

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