I fear the ghost of Karl Malone. I have two Malone jerseys; there is an action-figure shrine to him above my refrigerator*. When Malone was playing power forward on the Utah Jazz in the ’90s, my mood rose and fell with his play. When he was great, I felt great. And the Mailman was extremely great in regular seasons.
But he always, always lost in the playoffs. It hurt worse every time.
Here’s how I snowboard when feeling especially saucy:
My fantasy football team this NFL season, Mingo F*ck Yerself, has the No. 1 seed in the ‘Burque league playoffs. I finished 11-2, the only team with double-digit wins. I won a fantasy matchup in Week 9 by this score: 161.45–153.35. Receiver T.Y. Hilton, Colts. Megatron was on a bye that weekend, and I still won huge. My only loss (since the first game) was Week 11, despite 60 combined from Megatron and Washington Football Team QB RG3. Jimmy Graham and Knowshon Moreno had low games. Fluke. I had the third highest score of all the teams that week.
The dude who beat me then is Daniel. Team name: Eye of Yaweh. We were roommates after college. He’s got Peterson. And Gronk. Daniel’s the No. 2 seed. Because we’re the top two, we both get a bye, automatically advancing to round two. If we play again it’ll be in the championship on December 23. I’ll be with my in-laws for Christmas.
Of the five other guys who made the playoffs (in a 12-team league), three were once roommates. The top three teams all lived together once. A fourth, Marlman, lived in a room I moved into immediately after he moved out, so we just barely missed being roommates.
There’s money, too.
I want to win.
Ming F*ck Yourself just had a season to remember. Now begin the playoffs. The No. 3 seed is my friend and former roommate Nebs. We stayed up late one night, weeks ago, negotiating a trade over G-chat that would have got me Peyton Manning. He backed out the next morning.
Nebs says my only hope to escape Karl Malone’s ghost is to burn my Malone stuff.
I won’t do it. My players have gotten me this far. They’ll come through. Come on, RG3—be amazing.
A shrine. Jesus. I never thought it might actually matter.
Sports is ridiculous.