My Mom and I Own a Fantasy Football Team

Without sports, what would you talk to your family about?

The NBA lockout had me worried. I enjoy watching basketball, so the loss of a Sixers season would be disappointing. But there was always my methadone: College basketball’s on the ESPN networks all the time, and I was prepared to watch European hoops if I had to. (The horror!) I could even watch more hockey, a sport with a lot of motion and back-and-forth action that is way more similar to basketball than most think.

But the real question is: Without the Sixers, what would I talk to my parents about?

I’m joking a bit: I’m fortunate enough that my parents and I get along great, and I genuinely enjoy their company. But the sports seasons cover an entire year of things to talk to my parents about: Sixers in the winter, Phillies in the spring and summer, and Eagles in the winter. (My mom and I now co-own a fantasy football team, and this has mostly replaced Eagles talk with us. We’ve placed 2nd and 4th in back-to-back years in her 24-team league; not bad, but I’m a professional fantasy football expert so we should probably be winning.)

I assume people have other leisure time interests besides sports, but hell if I know what they are. I don’t know much about music. I don’t have the attention span to watch movies. HBO doesn’t have any good Sunday night shows my parents and I both enjoy currently. (We need a new Sopranos!) I can quote some 30 Rock jokes to my dad, I guess, but that’s about it.

As I’ve edged into adulthood—30 is just over a year away!—I’ve realized the best way to avoid talking to parents (and other relatives) about my numerous failures is to shift the conversation toward sports. Why talk about my failures when Philadelphia sports teams are much worse? I’m more successful with women than the Eagles are with Super Bowls!

With a weekday to do nothing for the first time in many months, I napped most of Monday. Yes, this was partially to catch up on sleep, but it was also to prepare myself to stay up to watch the West Coast season opener of my beloved 76ers. (I’m not an old man who can’t stay awake; I get up at 5 a.m. for work.) Though I don’t share the high expectations for this year of many of my friends, I genuinely enjoyed watching last year’s Sixers team more than I had in a few years. With everyone back from last year and a few promising young players, this shortened season should be entertaining at the very least.

Six minutes into the game, of course, it was 10-2, Portland. I had to turn the game off in the second quarter after the Sixers committed, oh, their 470th turnover. The Sixers trailed all game, and though they hit a bushel of desperation three-pointers late in the fourth to make it close, they lost. I’ve seen enough Sixers losses in my lifetime to be numb at this point. It’s not a big deal. What’s important is the Sixers are back.

My parents and I are going to the opener next Friday, and I couldn’t be more excited. (My mom has suggested wearing moose antlers.) The team could be 0-5 by then, and I’ll still be pumped. The Sixers are back! Eventually, they’ll be back on the East Coast, playing before 10 p.m. and I’ll be able to call my mom to complain about Lou Williams’s shot selection. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present.