Their white shirt, blue tie and khaki slacks swaddle them like a newborn. Quick cup of coffee and a piece of toast and they’re out the door. Hop on the highway and commute to work. Swing by the water cooler and chit-chat with Bob. Lunch at noon. Punch out by five.
Rinse and repeat five times a week.
Athletes are guilty of this too, but few sports figures embody a precise routine like the NFL kicker.
You know it well. Couple steps back, couple steps to the left or right, arm hangs low, rear back and fire.
By the 2007 season opener, Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee had performed this ritual thousands of times in Jacksonville, at Louisiana Tech and Longview High School in Texas. But prior to the Jags home opener, his routine was painfully interrupted during warm-ups. As his right leg swung its way to the football, his foot struck the ground with incredible force severely injuring his quadriceps muscle.
Scobee missed the next seven games.
“So, I got to pay attention to fantasy football for seven weeks while I was out,” the first-time fantasy owner said. “It was fun then.”
With the unexpected down time, Scobee joined a last minute fantasy football league and showcased his comedic chops during the draft.
“I picked myself in the sixth round and everybody thought I was an idiot,” Scobee said with a laugh. “I thought I was really clever. I remember my exact words were … ‘and the steal of the 6th round’ … and then I clicked on my name. I actually got booed.”
By the end of the season, this kicker had finished fourth in one league and second in another. In the latter league, Scobee boasted Tom Brady at quarterback and Randy Moss at wide receiver. In case you forgot, the two accounted for 73 touchdowns in 2007.
“I rolled with them all year.”
Despite a fourth and second place finish in his inaugural fantasy season, Scobee couldn’t look at himself in the mirror.
“I found myself acting like too much of a fan,” he said. “I found myself verbally bashing my players and I’d ask myself, ‘What am I doing?’ (Fantasy owners) are probably saying the same thing about me.”
Scobee was a one and done fantasy owner.
But as one fantasy door closed, another opened. Following the conclusion of his 2007 fantasy football league, Scobee received an email inviting him to join a fantasy golf league.
“I’m a big golf fan,” he said. “I’m a scratch golfer. I never even thought about fantasy golf.”
The concept is pretty simple and very similar to FOXSports.com’s Fantasy Auto Racing game. Each week, fantasy golf owners pick a new team. You pick two golfers from Group A (think upper tier), four players from Group B (think middle tier) and two golfers from Group C (think lower tier). You start half of your team, but have the option to go to your bench and swap out golfers in between rounds.
“It really makes you pay close attention to the entire golf tournament and makes you get into it even more,” Scobee said.
Mr. 59, Scobee’s fantasy golf alias, has watched his league grow from 10 to 25 teams. In addition to friends back home in Texas, college teammates at La. Tech and acquaintances around Jacksonville, this commissioner has invited two fellow NFL players into his league. Tennessee Titans punter Brett Kern and St. Louis Rams punter Donnie Jones are in the mix too.
“I’m in the 97th percentile in the country,” Kern, also known as scratchgolfer6, said. “I’m actually an avid golfer. I just shot a 69 the other day.”
“Brett is actually leading the league and has been all year, which is driving me nuts,” Scobee scoffed. “He picks a winner or somebody in the top three every week. I don’t get how he does it. He must have some inside information.”
As for his place in the league standings?
“I don’t even want to talk about it. Fittingly, I’m in 10th place which just so happens to be my football number.”
So, four years after his foot left a divot in the earth, “Scobee’s Kids: Fantasy Golf League” is in the middle of its third season.
Each week these guys turn on their computer, sign into their league, drool over some arbitrary stats, talk some trash, set their rosters and scour the internet for up-to-date fantasy scores.
It turns out us fantasy owners have our own routine.