It's that time of the year once again, ladies and gentlemen: Fantasy football is back.
While a traditional advice column may be better suited just three weeks away from opening night, I wanted to take the time and offer a different column on advice for men.
Simply put, this column is intended for guys -- even though fantasy has now crossed gender lines -- because as you will soon find out, the topic of fantasy football has become increasingly touchy for us and we could use the help. So specifically, here's why 2012 is the year of fantasy and why we need to play this season, no matter what.
1). Your significant other secretly loves that you play.
Forget the berating and often belligerent behavior of your partner regarding the time you spend updating your fantasy roster. Your dedication to the "sport" provides a necessary talking point to be shared behind your back. That's right: the five-to-20 hours a week (yes, some people spend that much time) you spend scanning the waiver wires, proposing trades and finalizing your lineup only to change it 10 minutes later ... is a good thing. Actually, it's a great thing. What else is your partner going to vent about with friends? (Just be sure and do those dishes once or twice a week.)
2). Your significant other secretly may be playing, too.
Don't act so surprised. A 2009 report by NPR iterated that about "20 million players participate in fantasy football." If the NFL has greatly benefited from fantasy football's infusion of popularity, then perhaps it can attribute its popularity even more so to the female audience. Just two years ago, the NFL created a clothing campaign designed especially for women. In 2010, the New York Times reported that "additional research by the N.F.L. and Nielsen showed more than 45 million women watch N.F.L. games each weekend." The bottom line is that some women happen to like football and that translates directly to participation in fantasy. A note: My wife won our league just three years ago and, while at first embarrassing, she has been the talk of the league ever since.
3). Speaking of the league, you playing fantasy football means that you -- and your significant other -- can enjoy "The League" together.
One of television's best shows is back for a fourth season come Sept. 14. While at times crude and wildly inappropriate, "The League" has changed the way America looks at fantasy football. There may be more romantic shows available yes, but FX has hit gold with characters like Ruxin and Andre. With just enough of a husband-wife element to it, you can now enjoy this program with your significant other while keeping your pulse on all things fantasy. It doesn't get too much better than that during the fall.
4). Don't forget about your bros.
Nothing offers a better excuse than fantasy football when it comes to keeping up with friends. Social media and texting give you the outlet, while your league deftly provides the perfect platform. Whether you're just married, completely single or a new parent, fantasy football is an ideal way to connect, even if you live 3,000 miles away. Just be sure not to finish dead last; there are certain repercussions for such atrocities.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report.
Plus, check out my HuffPost sports blog, The Schultz Report, for a fresh and daily outlook on all things fantasy and listen to my radio spot on 1280 The Zone Friday afternoons at 1 ET. Also, tune in at 8:30am ET Thursday mornings on Memphis 56 Sports Radio, right here.