Steve Virgen’s fantasy football short stories: 2. The Bow - Albuquerque Journal

Steve Virgen’s fantasy football short stories: 2. The Bow

I’ve often wondered if I ever had the highly coveted Grays Sports Almanac from Back to the Future.

How much would I wager to win a guaranteed winning sports bet? At which point would I stop? Would I let greed consume me?

Well, meet my friend Jay. He had something of a similar situation when he traded away quarterback Tony Romo in 2011. Instead of money, Jay went for a unique wager: to have his fantasy football rival bow in front of him.

When I watch the video recorded in front of the league at the 2011 draft day, I still cringe.

Dependable quarterbacks are rather easy to come by in the Total Geek Fantasy Football League. Some owners have picked up a QB via free agency and found success. So when Jay had both Tom Brady and Romo, I thought no one would trade for Romo in our keeper league knowing full well Jay wouldn’t hold on to the Dallas quarterback coming off an injury season.

Let’s bet.

We usually have side bets in addition to the main pot, but this was a different wager for sure.

Jay wanted me to bow before him if he was able to trade Romo to a clueless owner. Turns out I was the one who was clueless.

Jay had already secured a trade but told the other owner to hold off on the announcement. The bet was made after that sneaky agreement.

That’s criminal.

What would you do if your fantasy football rival made you bow before him in such a shady situation?

That’s a reason to brawl, especially after going through with the bow and not figuring out the details until years later.

But perhaps digging years previous, to Jay’s past, would explain the reasoning for his strange wager and his “efforts” to secure The Bow.

Must we go back to one of Jay’s first jobs? Must we go to when he was a delivery driver for the local pizza joint? Jay worked there along with Mike, Jeff and myself, all of us TGFFL members.

In addition to the tips we made, we were also paid by the mile, something like 10 cents back then. When it was a rough night for tips, some drivers were known to add a mile or two to gain a few more pennies.

But not Jay. He went for the gusto, sometimes adding 50 mock miles and making the cheating too obvious. Alas, he endured the famous Donald Trump line: You’re fired!

One other time, when his family wanted to see a movie at the theater, someone paid and then let in the entire tribe from the back door.

Another time, they went to the water park, one kid paid at the child price. Then that kid would exit and get his hand-stamped. Then while the ink was still wet, he’d go to another and rub the stamp onto the other’s hand. Then the other would do the same thing until everybody’s hand was stamped. So they’d all go in but only pay for one ticket.

It’s of little surprise that Jay grew up to become a lawyer.

I should’ve known what I was in for when Jay and Jeff arrived at my very first fantasy football draft in 1992 wearing dress shirts and ties and carrying briefcases as if they were truly NFL owners.

Jay has been playing fantasy football for 35 years and has been known to play in up to 10 leagues in one season.

However, away from fantasy football and definitely during the offseason, Jay is like a brother to me. He has bailed me out of so many unfortunate situations and has provided countless meaningful and humorous memories. Some of those memories took place in Las Vegas, and those stories could make for a book.

It’s just during those football months that there is usually genuine hate, especially whenever we play against each other.

The disrespect only seems to heighten with each matchup. The Bow intensified things even more, and most definitely when the details unfolded that he had in fact known that he traded Romo yet still wagered to lock up a win.

I hate watching that video and listening to the laughter in the background.

So beating him now, and finishing ahead of him the past four straight years, makes things sweeter.

Would you believe Jay actually won the championship in 2011 and 2012? Maybe karma doesn’t exist.

But then again, he has not won a TGFFL title since 2012. Maybe he’s forever cursed.

I certainly hope so.

Steve Virgen is the assistant sports editor of the Albuquerque Journal. He has been in sports journalism for 25 years. As a (serious) hobby he plays fantasy football and is in his 30th season of being a geek and in the same league known as the Total Geek Fantasy Football League. To celebrate his 30th season, he has vowed to his leaguemates to write at least one story per week that will mostly reveal great moments in their league’s proud history. Fantasy football advice, you won’t find it here, but perhaps on Twitter, where he is @Atotalgeek.

He can also be followed on Twitter, @SteveVirgen.

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