Death Sports Posted September 3, 2021

I used to be something of a running joke in my fantasy football league.

Sure, I always have the "best draft"at least according to Toyota – and do well in the regular season. But as far as playoff runs went, I had the absolute worst of luck. I would always lose in the first round, usually by an opponent who hadn’t updated their rosters since Week 2. It didn’t matter if most of their players laid a goose egg... because they lucked into drafting that ONE breakout player to singlehandedly carry them into the next round. And it didn’t matter if half of my roster came from a championship caliber team that was projected to unleash a world of pain all over a still winless team... THOSE games barely break double-digits in combined scoring.

That all changed in 2019. I started 3-1 of the season only to stumble to a 5-8 finish, narrowly sneaking into the playoffs. Where I was usually greeted with lighthearted jabs about choking once again had been replaced with questions of genuine concern. I wasn't okay. I was practically living at the Akron City Hospital, being with my mother who – unfortunately – would never wake up from her diabetic-induced coma. After weeks of being surrounded by indifferent doctors and drama inducing visitors, not to mention finding new ways to despise all the art on the walls in her room… my mother eventually passed away. I felt relieved that it was all over and that I could begin to properly grieve.

That was, until I remembered my fantasy team was in the playoffs.

Down 90-116, my Suburban Saints (5-8, 7th seed) had a chance to upset against The Gatekeepers (10-3, 2nd seed). It all came down to Eagle’s QB Carson Wentz delivering for me that night. I really didn’t want to watch the outcome of this game, but time stops for no man. I put aside my resentment for Philadelphia and how they took my pride, my chant, the 2017 NFC title and the Minnesota Super Bowl… and rooted for the Eagles with all the energy I could muster.

The Eagles struggled offensively for much of the game against the Giants, especially while it was raining. Things looked grim, but Wentz eventually found his groove by passing a touchdown to tight-end Zach Ertz late in the fourth quarter. He followed with another touchdown to Ertz in overtime. Two passing touchdowns for 14 points and 325 passing yards for 13 points gave me a total of 27 points. I let all my emotions go after seeing my woebegone team pull off a narrow 117-116 victory.

After finally breaking the playoff ceiling, my Suburban Saints went on to upset the top-seeded Divine Intervention (10-3, 1st seed) by a score of 122-113. I ended up taking the league trophy home the following week by beating the SoulWinners (7-6, 5th seed) 128-113.

While it’s nice to have something to show for it, nothing can truly replicate what I felt on the night my mother passed away. Maybe it's superficial. Maybe it was all just adrenaline and endorphins and serotonin flooding my brain. I can’t confirm this was a “God moment” since God shows no partially and all. But consider this the intuition of someone who used to live in darkness, and has since seen a great light:

It is after we hit our lowest points that we can truly know how it feels to be on top of the world.