My taste in sports comes mostly from my dad. Whatever was on TV were the sports I grew a liking toward. The favorites in the house have and will always be the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. We’d sprinkle in some English Premier League — with a split Manchester United and Tottenham fandom in the house.
I got my love for college basketball from my mom. March was sacred in our house with brackets hung up on the walls. When I was younger, my picks were based on the color of the jerseys — eventually I grew to pick properly.
However, one sport that never really showed up in my household was football. Sure, St. Louis had a team in the Rams until 2016, but rarely was there a game on our TV. There’s picture evidence that says otherwise, but I don’t recall ever sitting in the living room watching a Rams game, so that’s what I’m counting.
The extent of my childhood football following was Super Bowl Parties. I’d often spend my time socializing or doing homework rather than watching the game. I was introduced to Cane’s chicken at a Super Bowl party my senior year of high school.
When I arrived at Loyola, I knew my lack of fanaticism for the game would remain. Even though I’m the sports editor now, I’ve still never had to learn football since there is no Loyola team.
I can recall a dip party hosted by friends of mine — Will Miller and Max Kurinsky — during our first year. We sat in the Campion Hall basement with the games and enjoyed various amounts of dip, but I wasn’t drawn to the game like others were.
Sophomore year, I asked Miller to hold me accountable and make me watch games. He’d send me a list of college and professional games to add to my schedule — I’m sorry to say they rarely got watched.
Former sports editor Nick Schultz organized a Loyola Phoenix fantasy draft during my junior year, but I decided to opt-out due to money concerns. Really, that was only part of the reason — the other one being I didn’t want to show my lack of football knowledge.
A staple for Phoenix sports section meetings is sitting in Ireland’s and writers often getting distracted by whatever game was on TV that day. I recall a New Orleans Saints game close to the playoffs that many students were yelling about, but I was just focused on assigning that week’s stories.
I’ve evaded football for 21 years of my life, but that stops now.
I’m in a group chat of all women sports journalists and Leah Vann, a former Northwestern student, asked the 35 of us if we’d be interested in an all-women fantasy league. Naturally, there was a lot of interest.
Many of the women in this group chat come from schools with well-known football programs. I hesitantly added my name to the list.
I’m using this fantasy league — the first one I’ve ever participated in — as my final Hail Mary to truly immerse myself in the world of the NFL. I’m eight months away from graduation. Eight months away from needing a job. I need to have as much sports knowledge as possible in my pocket.
After I signed up, I did what a true reporter would do — I started researching. I asked my friends Kurinsky and Miller for tips. This led to a slew of information that I didn’t realize was necessary for a fantasy league.
I asked Schultz and my co-sports Editor Kyle Brown for help. My biggest takeaway — don’t draft Mitch Tribusky.
My draft has taken place. I’ve named my team — RIP STL Rams — and I’m ready for Thursday night. Bring it on, NFL.