Fantasy Football (FF) gets bigger each year, and unfortunately for many of us, so do our bellies. With all the talk and time spent researching team stats, injury reports and line adjustments, less time is left for the things that we did during our off-season.  Now that we have less time, we have to completely or partially cutout other things in our lives…sometimes the victim becomes our workouts. Add to this the reality that FF is a chicken wing and beer friendly recreation, and you have the perfect combination to gain weight and increase your waist size. Getting a jolly belly is NOT what I want, and am confident in my assumption that it is not what most of you want either.

Though I am very aware that less exercise and more empty calories will lead to weight gain, each year it is no less difficult to recognize how far I have left my fitness goal behind as the year progresses. So why do we let this happen each year? Why do we let go of our fitness efforts? After all, we know the result is only going to be one we regret once football season is over. Maybe it has to do with the feeling that safety can be found in numbers. Now that FF has gotten so big, maybe it seems like everyone around us is putting off their fitness efforts too. Maybe it is just because it takes a whole lot less effort to play FF than it does to work out and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

As fantasy football gains in its popularity, more and more tempting invitations to join new leagues flood our inboxes faster than pleas for help from the Prince of Nigeria. Even though the Prince does share the same last name as me—which means he must be Polish and German as well right?—and the 20 million dollar reward offer from him is enticing, it is no match compared to the thrill of FF.  So, each year we consider playing in “just one more league.”

In any case, playing in a fantasy football league is a passion, isn’t it?  We revel in the bragging rights that result from winning…winning that would have never happened without OUR keen decision-making abilities. We, and we alone, are responsible for our FF success—well the actual players do have something to do with it—but we have to adjust our rosters and draft “the perfect line-up.”

Okay, honestly we all know that the word “passion” is a buffer word for us fantasy footballers. A more appropriate word characterization may be “addiction”—or at the very least “obsession”—and we let it consume way more of our time than it should. Of course we justify it in “the spirit of competition.”

Don’t get me wrong, the competition is fun! We play against our friends, families and coworkers each week to see who picks and places the best players on their roster. It has made football more fun to watch and follow. We have gone from watching one game, when our favorite team plays, to watching ALL the games, stats, and tickers as our eyes bounce back-and-forth from our laptops to our smart phones as we eagerly watch to see if we are crushing our opponent each week.

Alas, I am listening to the voice-of-reason; I am guilty of spending a TON of time sitting in front of the TV and computer monitoring my fantasy football team…alright, you caught me, TEAMS. Yes, I have more than one FF team. But I now hear the once neglected voices around me; non-fantasy players, friends and family, who are mostly playful with me about my obsession.  Not so fun and playful is the reality check that is indisputable…my belt already had to be loosened-up by one notch. Since the football season began, my workout and cardio routine are a distant memory. The idea of a six-pack—in reference to my abs—well let’s just say that if I don’t get back-on-that-horse called health and fitness, then I am going to be looking at something that resembles more of a keg-like quality by the end of the season.

For those of us who play fantasy football, we love it, it’s fun and every year we wait in great anticipation for the season to begin. So what can all of us fantasy football gurus take from this particular blog post? How about this, let’s not take it (fantasy football) too seriously, and remember to find time to get out and go to the gym or for a jog. At the end of the day—after we set our line-ups of course—regardless of how often we check our points and player stats we are still merely spectators. Why not have bragging rights by crushing your opponent and maintaining your ability to run a 5K in January? That way, if you don’t win…it’s still pretty awesome that you can run a 5K!

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