Do I want to support my husband or do I want to play some fantasy football?
Now that Labor Day weekend is over and thousands of white girls have scooped up their Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, we can put a nail in the coffin that is summer and declare it dead.
Truth be told, I almost always consider the summer over after my birthday passes on July 31st, but that's not this post.
With the end of summer comes football season and with the arrival of football season, comes our fantasy football league.
What you should know about me is that up there with hoarding plastic bags and cats, I love making bets. I love the thrill of winning, and want to flip the table over when I'm losing. When I play Monopoly, the game isn't over until someone is crying. I've been known to stalk off when I'm on the precipice of losing.
One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting on the red velvet steps at the Trump Taj Mahal watching my parents play the machines. In today's day and age, that would be called child endangerment and reckless abandonment.
Just before we left for our mini honeymoon, my husband informed me that he received an e-mail announcing it's time to sign up for the pool. You can imagine my excitement.
This was going to be our third season playing the confidence pool on Run Your Pool. It is a $25 buy-in per person and about a dozen people play.
The way it works is that you have to pick the winning team of each game and slot each particular game into the point system. It's not enough to pick the winning team; you have to put it in a position where no one else would have it. If six people pick the same team as their top pick and that team wins, no one gains or loses ground. The season is over after the last game of the season, at which point I'm out of there because there's nothing to bet on during the playoffs or the Super Bowl.
I'm not on a level where I can draft players but I do alright when it comes to picking the winning team. Unfortunately I have a tendency of playing the odds on shitty teams for far too long, like those weeks where I kept insisting that the Lions were going to win and I'd be vindicated for putting them toward the top.
(Did they? No. But they won that game in November 2015 but OF COURSE my husband said no to picking the Lions. The one time my "feeling" could have paid off.)
Our Sundays usually go like this: in the morning we rise, all optimistic and shit.
"Do you want to do a last-minute pass on our games?" One of us would ask the other. "No, I'm feeling good about this week, we got this."
The one o'clock games would start and we would refresh the scores, keeping an eye on all the games for that time.
This one time, we took my mother to a movie on a Sunday afternoon. She called it "the worst Sunday afternoon of her life."
You can slowly see our good mood evaporate during the course of the games, and completely disintegrate as the scores come in. How do we always lose by a field goal? I have no idea. We could have been number one for two years if 75 percent of those field goals went our way.
Then we're dead inside until Monday night's game has been played and we start feeling optimistic all over again.
"Next year, next year will be our year!" I said every year that we lost, which happened twice but felt like much more.
But it was going to be our year, at least this year.
Two weeks before the first NFL game of the season, my husband and I were on our mini honeymoon, enjoying a delicious meal in London when, hands clasped, he looked at me. "Just hear me out," he said.
Immediately my eyes narrowed. Whenever he says that, I am automatically mad and on the defensive.
"I've been thinking and I'm not sure if I'll play in our fantasy football pool this season," he said. Months after their Super Bowl win, my husband was undergoing a crisis of faith about supporting his beloved Patriots, who were in turn, supporting the Trump administration because the owner, the coach, and the quarterback were all friends of his.
"Yeah, but you knew this back in February when we were supporting them in the Super Bowl," I said.
"I know, I know," he answered. "But with this and Kapernick still not on a team, I don't know if I want to support the NFL."
"You can still play if you want, though," he added.
"Of course I'll support you and not play in the pool," I said through gritted teeth. "But you know, when I play the pool, I don't have any allegiances to any team because I play to win and maybe you could not have any allegiances too?"
Please don't take this away from me, I thought. What else am I going to bet on these days? I'm too broke to go to Atlantic City or start an on-line gambling habit.
"I'm going to think about it, okay? I hate football but I also love it."
People in Boston, their sports are close to religion for them. I couldn't believe that my husband could go against his team.
Back when we first started dating, engaged even, this would have been unheard of.
My husband proposed to me just as the clock struck twelve on 2016.
Later that morning, we went to a nearby bar to celebrate our engagement and watch some football games. It was our last opportunity to finish strong in the standings. We wouldn't win the pool but we could finish number one for the week in our last week.
Minutes before the Patriots versus Dolphins game started, minutes after the pool, and with it, any changes closed, I chattered on excitedly about our chances while my fiance looked on at me, rarely chiming in.
"I'm so happy that you let me have my pick," I said, referencing the game. I had placed our bet on the Dolphins. The way I saw it, the Patriots locked up their playoff spot; they'd probably coast through the game and lose. Plus I had a feeling, okay? I thought my feeling would get us the win.
My husband, on the other hand, would have the Patriots as Pick 16 every week, which isn't a strategy. Everyone will have the Patriots as Pick 16 every week.
"Well, you know," he started to say, coming down with a sudden case of shifty eyes. "I changed our pick to the Patriots and moved it to the top position," he mumbled.
"YOU PROMISED ME I COULD HAVE THIS ONE PICK," I screeched like a banshee. "Look, I'm telling you now, if the Dolphins win after you moved around my pick, our engagement is over."
"Don't be like that! You know I couldn't bet against my team."
"I don't care," I said. "You betrayed me."
I ate five plates of bacon during the game.
At one point, the bartender said brunch is over, no more bacon.
"Okay, I'll have a burger, hold everything but the bacon," I replied.
Anyway, that last plate of bacon tasted disgusting and the Patriots lost.
Furious, I launched myself at my husband, pummeling him with my tiny, ineffectual fists. During the blows, my loose-fitting engagement ring flew off. We scoured the floor for it, even enlisting the assistance of the bartender.
"Found it!" I yelled. I looked at my fiance.
"Do you think we had the shortest engagement ever or what?" I asked.
He rolled his eyes. "I'm never going to hear the end of this, am I?"
An Olga never forgets, you know?
The following season, I went behind his back and changed his Patriots pick to the Dolphins. Of course the Dolphins lost.
During the 2015 season, we finished at number 14. Last year, it was number 7. This year, though, I'm out for blood so watch out GMA.
That's right; we've been bested by the host's grandmother for two years.
Of course I entered the pool. Don't give me that side-eye.