Life, the Universe, and Fantasy Football

the Universe: If you’re a fan of Douglas Adams, you recognized my spoof on the title of the third book in his “trilogy,” the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. While Adams grew up Christian, he eventually managed to somehow ‘reason’ himself out of it, apparently figuring that agnosticism is the only true belief. While I don’t agree with his faulty belief system, I do claim his famed saga to be my favorite collection of fictional literature, and in fact I’m looking right now at the complete collection which is proudly sitting on my bookshelf, right next to one of my HTML reference books. If you’ve never read the Hitchhiker’s Guide, I would highly recommend that you do. The basic storyline is a human traveling through space with his alien friend, recounting the adventures they have together after Arthur is pulled off the planet just seconds before it is destroyed to make room for an interstellar highway being built. What makes the book so great is not necessarily the story itself, but the satirical, refreshingly witty way in which Adams tells it. And while I can’t imagine a non sci-fi fan reading all five of the books, I do think it’s worth at least reading the first one, just to experience the genius that is the writing style of Douglas Adams.

Life: I am inching closer to making my first major purchase or two in the world of backpacking. Thos of you who have been following my adventures, even before I was writing about them, know that backpacking and its various related activities (kayaking, hiking, camping) have become one of my all-time favorite things to do. What I’ve been looking for recently is some basic equipment, for two reasons. First of all, I want to have the equipment to take extended trips into the wilderness, because I’ve found few things as physically, emotionally, and spiritually refreshing as extended periods of time out in God’s magnificent creation; and secondly, spending several hundred dollars to get into a hobby will just eat away at me if I don’t actually put the equipment to use. The three big items are a tent, a pack, and a sleeping bag. I already have an acceptable sleeping bag–certainly not the best, but it does the job–so that leaves me to find a pack to fit my needs, and a tent to shelter me.
The biggest problem I’m finding right now are the two different theories on how to properly backpack. One is the ultralight philosophy, where guys saw their toothbrush in half to save the extra dead weight. Their slogan is ‘light is right,’ and they like to push their beliefs on everyone else. The other guys tend to carry full-length toothbrushes, and generally carry a load ten to twenty pounds heavier than ultralighters. While they sacrifice the ease of lightweight travel, they also enjoy a few things the ultra guys leave behind, like toothpaste, and still having teeth (there is also a third group of luxury hikers, but anyone who carries chairs or cellphones or computers with them is no backpacker, but merely a poor RV enthusiast). Now I have nothing against trying to save weight, and I don’t even mind going a week without a shower or toilets or those types of things. But I refuse to sacrifice my teeth to save 6 ounces on the trail. So it appears I’m leaning towards the second theory, which probably means a more expensive pack and a lot of scorn from the ulralighters I know. Whatever my end decision is, at least I have the confidence of knowing I’ve spent hours and hours comparison shopping and review reading, and I have yet to be disappointed in any large purchases I’ve made when I’ve spent the time to do the proper research on the item. Still yet to be determined is the location of the next trip, which will be no later than mid-October, and hopefully sooner.

Fantasy Football. If you still don’t know what fantasy football is, accept this quick explanation as a hearty slap on the wrist. Fantasy football is a game where a group of people all get together and build teams of NFL players. These players form a starting roster, which scores points based on stats of that player during a given week. So, for example, if Peyton Manning throws three TDs, he’s just scored 18 points. Each week, teams go head to head, and whichever team scores the most points wins the game that week. From there on, it works pretty much like you would expect it to. We keep records of wins and losses, and the best teams make it to the playoffs, where eventually we crown a champion.
Now, the actual game has no semblance of physical prowess whatsoever, but is instead a mental game, challenging the knowledge of one man against another, and rewarding he whose football instincts (and luck) are greater than his opponent. Fantasy football is a way to insult, gloat, brag, and generally demoralize your opponents, but all to serve a greater purpose of male comraderie. In the end, fantasy football is a means of bringing friends together through a common medium to enjoy each other’s friendship, and we experienced that Sunday in a new and incredibly fun way.
Aaron Shepherd (again, link on the right –> ) explains our night very thoroughly, but I just wanted to comment on how much fun it was being with some of my favorite people, chillaxin in the Shepherd basement, doing something completely ridiculous and utterly amusing. For the first time, we had our draft in person, giving free reign of our opinions of players, pacing back and forth together, and tossing back the Mountain Dew. Yes, playing fantasy football is a lot of fun, but it’s the friendship that makes it worth playing. I really do love those guys, and look forward to a year full of rivalry, taunting, and sheer humiliation… just hopefully not of my team :)