Casual Father: Fantasy football dilemma at dads club
For the benefit of those of you not familiar with fantasy football, let me enlighten you.
Every week I pick a team from my squad of real-life Premier League footballers who score, or sometimes lose, points depending on their performance for their clubs at the weekend.
You aren’t allowed to pick more than three players from each club, stopping you from picking the whole Chelsea team for example, and you are also given a £100million transfer kitty at the start of the season to purchase your players.
The more high profile players, who are likely to score plenty of points, are obviously more expensive than those who aren’t.
You can make transfers each week and pick a captain who scores double points, and so it goes on.
My friends and I have our own private league where we compete against each other for the crown of being fantasy football champions.
Do we take it all a little bit too seriously? Probably, but hey there are worse vices out there.
With the end of season in sight and yours truly currently sitting pretty at the top of the table, the stakes are high, which is the reason why I bring it to your attention.
A few weeks ago, the wife spotted a once-monthly Saturday dads club event at the local library, and seemed very keen for me to go.
“It would be lovely for you and her to do something like that,” she says. “You don’t get the chance that often.”
Call me a cynic, but I think she also wanted a bit of a break.
It is completely understandable however, and I happily took Elizabeth to the library where a playroom, with a generous selection of toys, was open for the dads only event from 10am to 11.30am.
At first, most of the other dads seem a bit standoffish but as the kids warm up to each other on the play equipment, I get talking to a few.
It’s mostly small-talk but it’s friendly enough and the one thing I notice is that the club seems to have adopted a no-phone policy.
There aren’t any signs to this effect, but it seems like an unwritten rule that dads should be able to stay off their mobiles for at least an hour and a half to spend time with their children.
I’m more than happy to go along with this until sheer and utter panic sets in around 11am, ahead of an 11.30am deadline, when I realise I haven’t picked my fantasy football team.
Scrambling for my mobile in my pocket, I look up to see the woman running the group, who gives me a look that says, “Really, at a dads club?”.
I’m forced to spend the next 15 minutes cowering behind a doll’s house while I decide whether to choose Chelsea’s Diego Costa as captain.
My mind is racing, while all the time keeping an eye on Elizabeth and the organising woman.
Eventually it’s done. I transfer two players out, who both score, and choose Costa to skipper the side, who gets booked (-1 point) and fails to score.
Oh well, no-one said being a fantasy football manager was easy.