Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 2: Legion of womb

I didn't realize that I had forgotten to post this. I wrote it a week a week ago when these issues were very much the center of attention. I almost discarded my post but decided to publish it anyway:

I sit at my computer trying to write and I contritely hang my head. A month ago I had invited my friends to take part in a great idea; to have a season of fun playing fantasy football. Within a week football has taken a seat and the problem of domestic violence has taken its place.

I am unsure of what to write. I have heard so many voices in the media, the players, and the NFL. I hear the criticisms coming from those who think the NFL should have done more. I have heard the demand for the commissioner’s job, heard the denials of who saw and didn’t see the video tapes. Seething anger has been aroused against the NFL for the way they have handled the reports, or lack of handling them. I have nothing to add to those voices or those opinions. Like everyone, I wish to sift through the grandstanding and the rhetoric of so many to get to the true issue and problem. As I have tried to streamline my view, and as that has occurred, the focus has gotten smaller and smaller until only one person is left, me.

I want true justice to be served. I want everyone with an agenda to step aside and get back to the original issue. An abuser and a victim. I want to take it further; I want it beyond the NFL. Not that they are off the hook. I want them squarely on the hook, except I believe that hook needs to be very large. I think a few more need to be placed there as well, myself included. If I am demanding an end to domestic violence in the NFL, if I want them to get it right then what am I doing about the issue? And, might I ask, what are you doing?

I read on a web site that stated 1000 acts of domestic violence alone occur every day*. This isn’t just an NFL issue. If there was only 1 act of domestic violence it’s too many. The NFL is a huge corporation, and I understand that I don’t have access to the resources that they do. But responsibility needs to lie with each one of us as well.

So once again, I ask, what are we doing? I believe we need to demand that the NFL stays relevant and involved in the solution of this criminal act, but are we demanding the same things of ourselves. Are we willing to help and put a solid effort into fighting against this crime and many others that involve helpless victims? If this terrible week in the NFL has brought you to a new awareness and if it has stirred your emotions, then focus that energy on helping the victims of domestic violence. There are local shelters that need our resources, help, and time. If bringing those to justice is more your preference, then help in that capacity. There are organizations that fight for victims of violence and human trafficking. They prosecute the offenders in the justice system. Give of your resources to them or use your talents to help. If you want to get the word out, there are varieties of ways to raise awareness.

Don’t be angry for a week and then make it the sole responsibility of the NFL to get it right. It’s your turn too. Don’t just demand a change from someone else, make your own.
(Jennifer Truman, Sept, 2014)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 1: Legion of Womb

Well the first week is in the books. And the first match-ups in the Legion of Womb are completed. We had a landslide victory of 43 points and two squeakers where the winners won by less than one point, .60 and .10, to be exact.

Fellow LOW owners are trading, re-arranging and benching like pros. We have had players taken off of waivers and one of our owners looks like they are rebuilding already. (She would neither confirm nor deny that these waiver acquisitions were prompted and/or carried out by her husband).

I’ve noticed the hint of a different culture beginning to emerge. Faint stirrings of a new awareness. What rumblings do I see from the distance? The random texts coming from these friends during the first Thursday night football game. I’m usually on Twitter while I’m watching football; I have always had the great pleasure of being able to connect with like-minded sports fans from all over. But now, with my league taking a personal interest in their teams, it has proven to be a delightful surprise. On Thursday night, I had texts coming and going and going from quite a few of them. Whenever an important play happened, I got a text from someone. It could have been shared mutual pleasure, a question, or assertive affirmation that one cannot draft too many tight ends.

Like you, our lives went on besides football, often times intersecting with one another. During the week, I have attended church with an owner; I have shared a long Labor Day weekend, and even sat beside another as we attended a funeral together. We have shed tears of loss, tears of joy and we eagerly await a grandbaby. We’ve gone on vacation, seen kids off to their first day of school as well as welcomed those same children as students to their first day of school. We’ve sat beside each other in the stands cheering on our kids as they play soccer, worried together over our adult children, and gave advice to those with younger babies.

I personally have experienced a job change. While that is an adventure by itself, what makes it notable is two of my owners are my job references as well. Last Tuesday, during a text conversation with Tana, she responds. “A trade: You give me Seattle’s defense in exchange for a good reference.” I chuckled as I stared at that text. It took less than one week for this experiment to get serious. On the heels of that thought came one more troubling: How bad do I want this new job?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Legion of Womb

There are few things closer to my heart than friends and football. I love the sisterhood and fellowship that happens when I am with my friends. Over the years and in many ways there has been deep conversations, sharing and mutual concern as we celebrate and grieve with one another. There is encouragement, sympathy and, always, laughter will make its way into every conversation. Now football is among the facets of these ever evolving relationships. When I got this crazy idea of writing about the football journeys of my friends, I wasn’t sure if anyone would be game for it. And yet, each person I asked said, “yes”. I’m sure this speaks to the daring of their characters, the trust of our friendship, and of course the promise of food. And so we embark in our first annual women’s only fantasy football league known as the Legion of Womb. It consists of twelve teams, made up of twelve female owners in varying degrees of football knowledge. Our motto is: “The league where women and womanly behavior dominate. A place where we pick teams based on names that make us laugh, obligatory issues of homer-ism, and the pretty patterns all the colors on the draft board make.”

I have the privilege of knowing each of these wonderful women (and girls) in different arenas so it was such a blessing for me to have them get to know one another under my roof. They vary in age from high schoolers to grandmas and everything in between. There are business owners, teachers, administrators, ministers, managers, and students. A few knew each other but others did not; by the end of the night, however, they were all talking as old friends. The food was abundant and the laughs were non-stop. And although there were few that would admit to football knowledge, the competition was still healthy.

We had our draft this past Monday. We decided it would be an offline draft so not only could we all be together but we could also get to know one another better. Much to my delight, a few of them showed up with fantasy football magazines, cheat sheets and/or notes from husbands or friends on the best strategy to employ when drafting. I also had a cheat sheet compiled for each of my non-football-motivated friends: Those who aren’t interested or know anything about passing yards, rushing yards, points for td’s, or the like. This cheat sheet ranked the top 12 players in each position based on years married, children and their ages, charities that they supported or started and the player’s favorite color (which may or may not have been assigned by me).

Then the draft began, you could have cut the tension with a knife. Well not really, we were making baby-talk to our youngest member, Regan who is 6 mos. old. But with the first pick of the first round of the first year of the Legion of Womb Football League went to Peyton Manning. The first round was off to a great start with players like Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham being taken. In fact the first five rounds really showed how serious these ladies were…or how serious the people they were “secretly” texting felt.

Into the 6th round, many of the obvious picks were gone and so some of the other drafting strategies started to emerge. My daughter and one of her friends (both sixteen) began to employ the “Who has the funniest sounding name?” technique. Others began to count to see how many players of our local team, the Seahawks they had on their team. Panic ensued when they found themselves woefully short. There were times after a name was called, that the crowd stopped to advise or approve of the choice. The analytical questions like, “Now tell me why you are picking him?” or “Is it morally right for a Seattle fan to pick a 49er?”

One of the funnier things to watch was the group intervention that came about when an owner tried to take a 4th tight end. “We are very concerned over your obsession with tight ends, and from now on, you can’t draft anymore.” “Well I think I only need one more.” “No. you are done. Pick from the running back sheet, we aren’t going to allow you to pick a tight end.”

There were friends who could not make the draft for one reason or another and so we drafted their players by committee. It was one of the few times a streak of ruthlessness emerged: We drafted a kicker in the first round for one of them. But we began to feel guilty and gave her better picks for the remainder.

I had my friends fill out a questionnaire about why they were willing to be a part of this. They all have a desire to know more. My friend, Nikki, who is a part of the Legion of Womb, knows and follows football like I do, we are both excited to share and watch others love this sport the way we do. Although fantasy Football is a game inside a game, it gives the team owners a little more involvement in the NFL. It also helps to have a bit more global information about other NFL teams. I have already begun to hear a different language being spoken among my friends, “ Do you think I should bench this player in week 1?” or “Since I wasn’t allowed to draft anymore tight ends, can I get one off of waivers?” The answer is still no, but it warms my heart to hear the questions!

This is the first installment of the Legion of Womb chronicles. WE will be back after the first week to tell you more about the teams and how my beloved owners are doing after their first big week of football!