I’ve never really been the superstitious type. I’ve never avoided stepping on cracks in the sidewalk. I try not to walk under ladders, but that’s for safety’s sake more than anything else. And although I often eat tuna fish sandwiches, I have no expectation that I’ll all of a sudden turn into Albert Einstein.
Two years ago, the commissioner of my college radio alum fantasy football league decided that cash was not enough of an incentive to win the title. We needed to introduce something else. How about a championship trophy? Sure, why not! We’d all chip in to purchase a trophy, engrave it with the names of all the winners dating back to 2000 and add a new engraved plaque each year. Plus, the previous season’s champion would get to hold onto the trophy until the following year’s draft.
A few weeks ago, I finally made the long trek from downtown Manhattan to the Upper West Side to claim my prize. I had meant to pick it up back in August and I was very much looking forward to it. But between work and, well, the hassle of taking the time to travel four miles just to add more clutter to my apartment, I just never got around to it. Anyway, the whole ordeal was kind of embarrassing. The thing is rather bulky so I opted to take the bus back home. The thought of carrying it through the subway was simply a recipe for disaster. The problem was that the bus was slightly more crowded than I had expected for a Sunday, so plenty of passengers couldn’t help but stare at the trophy, then look at me, then stare at the trophy again. The trip through the lobby of my apartment building was a little less awkward, as I actually knew the people who were eyeing the hardware and some of them knew that I’m a sports guy. But still, I had to explain how I won it and then go into a brief “Fantasy Sports 101” lesson. Not to mention that there’s a limit to how many times someone can say “Congratulations, Zach!”
As I write this, the trophy sits here in my bedroom on a shelf right above my TV and below my college diploma. It’s 19 inches tall, a gold cup supported by two separate pyramid-stepped bases that serve as the background for the individual plaques. 12 slots have now been filled and 14 remain. That’ll take us through the 2025 season. I’ll be 41 years old and will probably still be playing fantasy sports.
At the time I picked up the trophy, I was 6-4 in this league. I’m now 6-6, and will need a win plus some help this week in order to make the playoffs. You’ve heard of the Curse of the Bambino and the Curse of the Billy Goat. Well, for me, the Curse of the Trophy will dwarf them both unless I can somehow sneak into the playoffs.
I’ve never really been the superstitious type. Until now.
Can someone please take this thing off my hands?