Anthony Gabbard never won our fantasy football league. Never came close, really, despite often being armed with more picks in the first seven rounds than the rest of us had in the full draft. He would methodically fill slots based on need, meaning he always – ALWAYS – ended up taking a kicker not just too early but entirely too early. Like ridiculously early. Like seventh or eighth round early, having already rounded out a roster and ready to go worry about other things, usually poker.
Unlike others in the league, Gabbard didn’t study charts or meticulously pore over fantasy gurus in the days leading up to the draft. He preferred to print out a couple of sheets, then let the numbers be the guide while the team fell into place.
Earlier this year, Cory Graham and I, in an effort to pay some sort of tribute to our old friend KC Jones, who had unexpectedly died, decided we should probably become Kansas City Royals fans. The reason was purely superficial: the Royals’ cap featured the letters “KC,” and we’d had more than few conversations over the years that our KC should be a fan of that KC. Not only would he have personalized caps (or shirts or jackets or whatever piece of Royals memorabilia he desired), he’d also be rooting for an obscure small-market team in an area surrounded by fans of the Yankees, Cardinals, Braves and Reds. Basically, our friend would stand out. Continue reading →
I woke up this morning, my 38th birthday, thinking about the things I miss, the things I want, the things I’ll never have again. Birthdays are, by their very nature, perhaps the most selfish of days, and I not only embraced the selfishness, I wallowed in it.
First, though, let me make a few introductions: my name is Kevin. You’re going to get to know me pretty well over the years, but for now, I’ll hit the basics of what you should know: Springsteen. Wilco. Scorsese. Tarantino. Football. Seinfeld. Arrested Development. The Simpsons. Football. When you learn to talk, if you’re remotely familiar with any of those things, we’ll get along just fine.
You see that man over there? Probably not, because although I know little about babies who are about 12 hours old, I’m fairly certain I recall reading that they can’t see long distances. OK, so how about this? The next time the bearded redhead holds you, the one in the Phillies cap, that’s your dad. His name is Cory. I’ve known him a long time, and one thing I know about him more than just about anything else, he’s waited for this day more than you (or anyone) can possibly imagine (realizing, of course, you are 12 hours old and can’t imagine anything right now, but even when you are much much older, the sentiment will be the same).
My parents hadn’t given up on me, even though by all accounts they probably should have. I hated them, for no good reason, other than the fact I was in my early 20s and they weren’t.
They tried to reach out to me. I refused, time and again.
Then someone reached out to them, they graciously accepted the offer and I was fortunately too young and dumb to realize I was being parented by proxy. I’m not sure when Norman Watson called my mom, telling her he’d talk to me, try to make me be less angry, less sullen, less bratty, less negative.
If you don’t want to read about football, stop now.
If you don’t want to read about fantasy football, stop now.
But if you want to read about brotherhood, then brutha, by all means, continue.
This Saturday, the 2010 version of The Skullz Fantasy Football League begins with our annual draft held, as usual, at the Cory S. Graham Sports Complex/Clay City Music Hall. There will be Mama Crowe’s pizza. There will be chicken wings. There will be trash talk and girl talk, groans over missed opportunities in the draft and laughter over poor picks. Continue reading →
His friends and family gathered in Stanton for his funeral, and I’m fortunate enough to have been invited to be part of the service, both as a speaker and as a pallbearer. It was a touching tribute with kind words being shared about the man (or, perhaps more appropriately, The Man) we all loved so much. I was especially fond of his son-in-law Barry’s talk, which included a quote from Yoda (“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is.”) and this essay by Robert Hastings called “The Station”: Continue reading →