There’s been a lot going on around here.
First off, those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram may not know this about me.
I’m a three-time Super Bowl champ.
Yes, you read that right.
Short back story. Even though my brother and parents loved watching sports (especially baseball), I was completely indifferent to any of them. No thanks, I’d say, give me a book or Brady Bunch returns and I’m good.
And so it was for the first 50 years of my life: NOT INTERESTED in anything sporty.
But then a couple years ago, Oliver plead with us; no one around him would watch a football game with him — would one of us watch a Seahawks game with him?
At first I was reticent, even a little skeptical, but I figured if an adolescent tells you what they need and want from you, you’d be smart to listen. It started slowly that year and ended with a tough loss at the Super Bowl when the Seahawks lost what was a sure win in the last five seconds of the game (I still can’t watch that Malcolm Butler interception without getting choked up).
It was a terrible ending but shortly thereafter we had this football signed by Ricardo Lockette, the Seahawk for whom that tragic last throw was intended.
In the three years since, my passion as a spectator intensified with each game and Oliver and I’ve become huge Seahawks fans.
What happened though is that my love of the sport hit a new level a year ago August when Oliver’s cousins asked him to be in a fantasy football league with them.
I was still learning about the sport then, but it turns out I’m a geek for research and together Oliver and I learned all about the players, the teams, the intricacies of fantasy and all the stats around it.
Each and every day it seemed we talked football and I read everything fantasy football I could get my hands on.
I was the scout, and he was the team manager — and we made all our football team decisions together.
I am a hyper-competitive person, so I took it very seriously. We rode our rookie Ezekiel Elliott hard all last season — and came home with the win!
Seeing that it was so improbable that we could beat a league of avid and long-time football fans, I insisted we buy ourselves a trophy.
I didn’t love the choices on Amazon, but I did find this, one of the more expensive but heftier, better looking models then on the market.
Okay, this past August we joined our league again as a team, but Oliver insisted that we also join another family league as individuals– to see who’d come up on top.
And believe it or not, me, this gal who hated sports until just a couple years ago, threw herself even more into the competition.
I read everything football for months on end, tracking injuries, team dynamics, coaching decisions, up-and-coming rookies and I strategized about games and players weeks in advance. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and find myself falling into the rabbit hole of research, and the ESPN app was the most used on my Iphone.
Spending this amount of time is ridiculous, I know, I know, but I rarely do anything half-way, and I desperately wanted us to win — and I loved learning so much about this sport I’d spent fifty years ignoring.
And so after a few good last minute decisions (and frankly a lot of luck — who could have predicted the injuries and benching of stars in the play-offs?), Oliver and I won our second Fantasy Football Super Bowl.
And here’s the kicker.
I alone won my league, too. Hallelujah!
And what happened next could well be explained by the fact that Bailey died shortly after our official wins — and right afterwards I’d been feeling so lonely and joyless that I felt that I needed to inject some fun and creativity around here.
How else to explain my absurd quest to find the perfect trophy to celebrate our wins?
I searched the Internet and all the trophies I saw offered for sale were either too “bro”, too generic, too cheap, too flimsy or outrageously expensive (I’ve seen some that cost hundreds of dollars).
I decided I wanted something that was more feminine without being too girly (I’d seen pink glitter stiletto statues– no thanks!) and something that would look good on my mantle over the fireplace in our basement. I was looking for something fairly neutral in tone but still personal, and I saw something on Pinterest that got me thinking.
Could I make a statue of my own?
Now I’m crafty but not terribly accurate or gifted, but I thought I’d give it a go.
I started with some thrift store statues I bought.
I chose the ones with the marble bases because I liked their heft.
My apologies to Bob and the whole crew at Ted’s Upholstery
but once home I tinkered around with them, seeing if I could break these statues down to components which it turns out I could do easily.
I also went to Goodwill to look for additional elements for the statues.
I came home with a six inch high porcelain statue of a goddess in distress which really resonated with me; she seemed to embody my season of hyper-analytics and fretting over the outcome. I also found a mini helmet which I glued to her hand.
This is how she looked post painting and connecting with her helmet.
I also found an over-sized army guy and it reminded me of Oliver who always there at the ready to protect me against bad-last minute, game-time decisions (should I play Christian McCaffrey instead of Antonio Brown because of a hunch? sigh. NO, Mom).
At the Goodwill bins I also found some footballs and some picks and some odd scrapbook pieces I thought I might be able to use.
I laid out some newspaper and got to work spray painting, adding a couple coats of a matte white to make the statues look a bit more modern.
I then stopped by a local engraver who could make me plaques inexpensively (I paid sixteen dollars for three of them) and then came home and played around with the different painted pieces. When I liked how they looked, I got the glue gun out again and got busy.
My nephew won too in a league of his friends so while I was at it I thought I’d commemorate his win as well.
Are they the most professional looking trophies in the world?
Of course not, but they (with their bad pun team names, seemingly de rigueur in fantasy) make me absurdly happy to look at and remind me of all those fun hours I spent on the couch watching games with two of my favorite guys.
And now as I pass by them I laugh with the memories and remember true champions can never sleep; just because I’ve won all three competitions I’ve been in doesn’t mean I can now rest on my laurels.
With multiple victories behind me, I know I’ve got a lot of family members gunning for both Oliver and me next year. This will make the competition even more difficult (attention all: my research resumes next month with football Rookie Combines).
Speaking of champions, how many of you watched the Super Bowl?
We got invited to watch the game with a couple friends, but I like watching the game at home where the distractions are few, we can all sit comfortably around in our pj’s and the only decisions I have to make are when to cook the wings and when to serve the tater tots (this year with a delicious Feta-ranch dressing).
(I think the picture wasn’t great because my hand was shaky with gluttonous excitement.)
I bought some vintage Bingo cards also at Goodwill and Charlotte converted them to Super Bowl Ad Bingo and we played that throughout the game (anything to help us work through this year’s Seahawks M & M’s — I buy a fresh batch every October).
I was excited to use an enamel tray and vintage magnets I’d just bought at Goodwill early that morning.
I also had fun thinking up new ways to use up some of the leftover statue elements that hadn’t yet found a home.
Isn’t Chex Mix that much better when made with Ruffles Potato Chips and with a running back chasing through the middle of it?
I have so much family in Boston but I was so happy that Philly pulled out their first ever Super Bowl win.
What a thrilling game — and an incredibly talented (and modest!) quarterback in Nick Foles.
Fly Eagles, fly!