You know, that guy that you tend to only keep contact with for one reason and one reason only. You don’t want to be in a relationship with him. You may not even find him that attractive (though sometimes you do). But on a Saturday night when that text message goes off on your phone and you open it, you just can’t help but respond…
Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about F as in “fantasy football” buddy. And that text likely asks who he should start at wide receiver 2. Look, I’m not pretending to be above it. I have a few guy friends who I talk fantasy football with. It keeps me sane in a world where not many of my friends are sports fanatics like me. These guys, who knows how I end up meeting them or why I keep in contact with them year after year. Most of them are not who I would call my best friends, they’re more like random people I know through random ways who I talk about almost nothing but football with. It’s like going to a book club, or salsa dancing lessons. You may not know anyone else who loves Jane Austen or a latin beat as much as you do, but you can find those people, they’re out there. So I found these people (most of them are guys) and I talk to them about run defenses and vultures for goal line carries. It’s how I get my fix.
Now, you might have a couple questions at this point about this arrangement like: 1) why don’t you just talk to your boyfriend about it, 2) does your boyfriend care that you talk to all these other guys all the time, 3) do these other guys have other motives? All good questions. And I have prepared answers for them. First, when my boyfriend and I first started dating, we used to talk about it all the time. We still watch games together and talk on occasion, but I think even he got tired of my obsession over the fantasy football season. I think it’s one of those things that you think will be really awesome when you first start dating someone and then you realize that this is what they meant when they coined the phrase, “too much of a good thing”. Maybe a chick that likes sports isn’t the greatest thing after all. Ok, next question, my boyfriend could care less that I talk to these other guys about football. I rarely talk to them about other personal things, so it remains an almost strictly football-talking situation. I don’t hide it and he doesn’t react disapprovingly. And last but not least…my answer to number three is….who cares? I don’t think they have ulterior motives, though it’s fine if they do. I don’t hide the fact that I’m in a committed relationship. For some of them, I also steer the question away from non-football topics as soon as they come up. Just like the other kind of “F” buddy, these guys have defined roles. Now I’m not saying that they aren’t nice or interesting or that I wouldn’t be friends with them otherwise. Most of them are delightful people. I mean, I have lots of guy friends. I do know though, that things get complicated that way, between guys and girls. And football makes it simple, keeps it simple. And that’s the beauty of it.
I should confess that some of these football buddies are actually pretty cool people and for those selected few, I actually hope to become actual friends with them, talk to them about other things that I love to talk about (mostly work and my obsession over BBQ ribs). I have no shame in saying that sometimes they slide out of their exclusive role as a fantasy football buddy and into something resembling a real friendship. Maybe one of these days, I’ll let these guys know more about me than just who I see as my WR1 in the playoffs. But they have to earn it.