"Big Four" Highlights


Fantasy Falls Short

Keep it real this football season

By Dave DiNuzzo, Sr.

Guys, let me start by laying something out on the table. Playing football is awesome. It taught me teamwork, hard work, discipline, tenacity, perseverance and even – significantly – helped me pay for my undergraduate degree! Watching football is also fun. It has always been something we do in my family, gathering us together like nothing else can.

So understand that I’m really big on football. But fantasy football? Nah. Don’t get offended, guys, but it’s time to ditch the fantasy football leagues.

As this year’s NFL season approached, watching TV sports, listening to some sports talk radio on my long commutes and following a few web discussion threads, I was incessantly bombarded with talk about fantasy. I even went to a game recently, hearing and seeing it there. It boggles my mind that grown men get so into this make-believe world. We all should have much better things to do. We can certainly find something more productive to do. Sure, a lot of us spend time poorly on occasion. But I have to be frank about this; even the name evokes the shear viciousness that is “fantasy football.”

If you find yourself attempting to justify this fantasy, I suggest that you stop and think about your responsibilities as a father, as a man, as a son and as a Catholic. I’m asking this of each of you not to point fingers, but as a challenge to live intentionally and with purpose. Ask: what am I spending my time doing? Is what I’m doing the best use of that time? Is it life-giving? Is it benefiting my marriage, my children and my life? What about God? Where does he fit in?

My take on fantasy leagues is that they’re just that – fantasy. Fake. They lend themselves to idle behavior, sloth, selfishness and deeper, more dangerous fantasy. We need to live in reality. If you look up the definition of fantasy, you will see that it is “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.” This figment is what you spend countless hours on each week? This is what gets you hot and bothered? The improbable and impossible? Don't tell me that you might get $1,000 if you win your league. Don't tell me about bragging rights over your brothers, co-workers or poker buddies. Don’t tell me about stats, probabilities and games of chance. I’ve heard it all.

Fantasy, simply put, falls short when it comes to fulfilling a father’s responsibility to his family. Men have too many responsibilities that are going undone because we waste our lives on fantasy football. To me, this isn't much different than porn. Porn is a fantasy land, unreality that leads to viciousness and sin. Consider the similarities: men, sitting idle at their computer/device, staring at a screen, void of personal interaction, indulging themselves. Both are a major waste of time. Both are self-serving and isolating.

If you don't think these fantasies affect you and me, you’re wrong. When men don’t live lives of virtue, they’re living a lie or even lives of viciousness. There’s no two-ways about it. We have tons of males running around like boys, playing games all day long, wasting away the good opportunities to be something, and to do something. Get it together, brothers!

So, what are you going to do instead of fantasy football this year? Use your imagination without indulging in fantasy. Demand more from yourself, from your life. Our wives and children deserve more. Our Church and our world deserve more. Step up and make a difference.

Dave DiNuzzo Sr. is Director of Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri) and founder of TrueManhood.com. He is a member of Beloit (Kansas) Council 921.