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and go back and forth between two rooms checking who scored that touchdown, who made that pass,” says Crissy Borg, whose living room on Sundays now through January is reserved for football.
Women like Crissy Borg and her sister in law, Stefanie, are the season’s real football widows.
Their husbands are among the 12 million, mostly male, fantasy football players who have decided that being a fan isn’t enough. They want to own, manage and coach a team of NFL players even if it’s just pretend.
They draft players, set their weekly lineups, watch who plays well, who gets injured, who they want to dump, who they want to trade. They compete against 10 to 12 other owners in their league for the championship trophy or money, or both, at the end of the season.
Although “ownership” of blue chip running backs such as LaDainian Tomlinson and quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning don’t cost fantasy owners millions of dollars, it does consume their time and attention.
Much more time just watching your favorite team play once a week.
According to Greg Ambrosius, president of Fantasy Sports Trade Association, a non profit agency that promotes the industry, people who play fantasy football spend an average of three hours a week researching players, checking stats and strategizing. They spend an average of $154 a year on maintaining their team. Since many fantasy football players are in more than one league, that multiplies the number of hours and dollars devoted to football.
That’s why many women find themselves pretty much on their own when the NFL kicks off.
On Sundays, Crissy and Stefanie Borg frequently turn to each other. “Sometimes I leave and go shopping,” says Crissy Borg. “My sister in law (Stefanie) comes over and we scrapbook and let the kids all run around.”
Both women consider their husbands’ obsession and laugh.
“I think it is completely obnoxious, but for the most part I find it hilarious,” says Crissy Borg.
The average participant in the more than $1.5 billion a year fantasy sports industry is a 37 year old White male, who is married, well educated, with a household income of $78,566, says Ambrosius.
Kirk and Kevin Borg fit the stats. Kirk, 36, runs an insurance company with his father, Steve, and other brother, Kyle. Kevin, 30, is a pharmacist.
The brothers admit they’re football freaks.
“I’m not a jerk about it,” Kirk Borg says.cheap nfl jerseys If the kids are sick or there’s a family function, he says, he’ll pass on the Sunday football ritual. But when his wife, pregnant last season with their third child, thought her water was breaking, she called her sister in law to take her to the hospital. It was a Sunday. The brothers watched the other kids while Crissy took Stefanie to the hospital. It turned out to be a false alarm.
The two couples, who have five children between them ages 10 months to 6 years, work to keep the time and attention balance sheet in line.
“I won’t allow him to screw up (spending time with the kids),” says Crissy Borg.
Adam Lang is a 28 year old attorney, married to Mindy, a 26 year old third grade schoolteacher. Adam is in four fantasy football leagues.
Mindy spends Sundays grading papers, reading books, going to the gym and sometimes rehearsing for her version of fantasy football, improv theater. “Sunday is my day to do whatever I want,” she says.
She’s amused by her husband’s absorption in something she really doesn’t get.
There’s a wall size chart taped to their living room wall with fluorescent stickers in the shapes of helmets that track all the players drafted in one of her husband’s leagues Laces Out. The draft was at the Langs’ home two weeks ago. Twelve guys. Two came from out of town and spent the weekend with them. and ended at 10. “They were all sitting there with their laptops, magazines and papers. and New York, and the others were complaining that it was taking them forever to make their picks,” she says.
Mindy went out to dinner with one of the guy’s girlfriends and her mother in law and sister in law. When she came back home, they were still rehashing the draft.
On Sundays during football season, Adam Lang goes to a neighborhood sports bar to watch the games. He usually eats breakfast and lunch there. He would love it if Mindy would come, too, she says. She doesn’t question his commitment to her.
“It never makes me angry,” says Mindy. “I knew he was a fanatic. I’m cool with him doing his thing,” she says.
Psychologists and sociologists agree that most pastimes, like fantasy football, golf, scrapbooking and exercising, are healthy and don’t threaten strong, healthy relationships.”When it becomes a problem is when an activity becomes an obsession and people invest time, money and energy in something and put it ahead of their family and their work,” Granata says.
A pastime becomes dicey in a relationship when a spouse feels he or she is put on the back burner and that the hobby has become all encompassing, replacing them in importance, says Eileen Johnston, professor of sociology at Glendale Community College.