Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The best fantasy football experience is Hawaiian style

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii – People like me seek paradise as a means of escaping the realities of life such as commute traffic, kids who do not pick up their bedrooms unless subpoenaed and cats who serve as meowing alarm clocks when they verbally communicate that they must be fed at 5:30 in the morning.
My wife and I recently choose to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii, specifically the Big Island, where we honeymooned in 1990, the year that Iraq invaded Kuwait and Pete Rose entered prison.
It was my quest on this trip to escape from every day stress but, unfortunately, though thousands of miles from home, I was not able to avoid the two things in my life that recently have been haunting me and have forced me to cringe and look away every time I see them.
I’m talking about, of course, DraftKings and FanDuel. Or better yet the countless, endless array of their commercials that have adorned our television screens pregame, in game and postgame and pretty much every day since this football season started. You know what I mean: The nauseating volume of commercials that run on like black lava in Volcanoes National Park and are targeted at people who love to gamble and are addicted to fantasy football and are led to believe that beginning with a simple free code or bonus (enter LOSER) they can make millions of dollars like so many other many lucky souls who apparently spend every waking minute staring up at a TV screen to see how their fantasy football players are going every Thursday, Sunday and Monday until Christmas when Santa delivers us NFL games on Saturday as well.
Rudolph with your nose so bright, guide my fantasy picks tonight!
If you know me, I have never been a fan of fantasy football unless I’m in Hawaii where fantasy football is now getting up for a gorgeous sunrise to watch a Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans game then spending the rest of the day on Sunday waiting for a gorgeous sunset. I can live with that and so can the Hawaiian Islands where Mariota is more popular than King Kamehameha. The Hawaiian-born quarterback has a funny Subway TV ad with a Heisman Trophy statuette sidekick and a cool ad for an insurance company showing him running alone on a long sandy beach and doing agility drills around rocks that are more imposing than tackling dummies.
Watching NFL football in Hawaii is a real treat because the only thing Hawaiians are focused on are games involving Mariota, who gets more attention than the hula dancers at the Mauna Kea luau. Plus his games on Sunday usually end before the half price Happy Hour at Hali i’ Kai. Woo hoo!
On this particular Sunday on the Big Island, as soon as the Titans-Colts game ended I swear the next program to air on my TV cable system network was an infomercial for FanDuel. This is akin to going to Hapuna Beach then seeing only one-piece bathing suits.
What I can’t stand is, however, is watching an NFL game nowadays and being distracted by all the individual statistics scrolling across the bottom of the screen. The screen is busier and more crowded than the Costco in Kona on Sunday. These Wall Street Journal ticker-like stats are for the people who are signed up for DraftKings or FanDuel or are still thinking about signing up for DraftKings and FanDuel. Instead of watching live game action on the screen, people are dedicating at least one eye to all the day’s big fantasy football players who are have produced big numbers which may someday make a fantasy football team owner a million bucks!
In addition, CBS is now including in its out-of-town scoreboard scroll the up-to-the-second score, quarter, time remaining, down and distance and field position and quite possibly the daily winning Power Ball lottery numbers on its  bottom line, so much run-on information that it is impossible to dissect in the four seconds or so it appears on the screen. You have to be a speed reader to take it all in.
In Hawaii, things move much slower. They are on Island-time, not eye-on-the-screen time. Life to them is like the dessert tray sampler at the Canoe House at Mani Lani. You can’t go wrong with whatever you pick.
I’m guessing there are fantasy football leagues in Hawaii, but I’m of the belief that there are fewer fantasy football team players in the Aloha State simply because they spend their time and money on the necessities: Groceries, gas and cable TV to watch Marcus Mariota.
They could care less about fantasy football being that they live on islands with pure fantasy. Like the ULU ocean grill at the Four Seasons.
As for the mainland, I’m waiting for fantasy football judgement day. The day when a DraftKings or FanDuel multimillion dollar winner becomes the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers because there are evidently grown men wearing caps on their head backwards and replica football jerseys out there who do a much better job evaluating talent than Trent Baalke.


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