OAK PARK, Ill.—Football season has arrived and, with it, millions of mothers are preparing for months of minimal emotional and psychological support from their partners.
“The first year or two it was pretty tough, but I’ve learned to adjust,” said Nicole Cox, an Oak Park-based mother of two. “Me and some of the other wives in my husband’s league created a Fantasy Wives Club to help support each other in our time of need.”
Nicole’s husband, Bob, started strategizing his team, “Ball Boyz,” in August. His fantasy league, “First Draught Pick,” held their draft in September, and Nicole has scarcely seen him since.
“I mean, the season really just started, but he tunes out of our personal lives mid-August when he starts analyzing stats from the previous season and pre-season games,” said Nicole. “It’s a little tough now that our oldest is in the first grade, and we – I mean, ‘I’ – have to handle back-to-school shopping, vaccinations, orientation, parent/teacher conferences and what-not, but that’s what’s so great about the Fantasy Wives Club.”
The Oak Park chapter of the Fantasy Wives Club was founded in 2009, when the concept of fantasy leagues really started to get out of control.
“I was pregnant with our first child at the time,” said Nicole. “And I needed someone to go with me to Lamaze classes and, eventually, the actual birth of our child. The Fantasy Wives Club really banded together to help make sure we had coverage so our husbands didn’t miss a game.”
“Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great dad the other seven months of the year – well, wait, he’s in a fantasy league for baseball as well, and he creates a bracket every year for college basketball playoffs. But when it’s not baseball, football or basketball season, he really steps up his game,” said Nicole. “During those 2-3 weeks, he’s the best father our children could ask for.”
“He also always remembers to get me flowers and chocolate for Valentine’s Day, which I really appreciate, considering how close that holiday is to the Super Bowl,” said Nicole. “I don’t even mind that he usually forgets to take the receipt out of the Walgreens bag before he hands it to me.”
When approached for comment, Bob continued to stare at his computer screen and simply said, “Yeah, sure, I’ll take another beer. Thanks, babe.”
It’s estimated that 19 million Americans participate in a fantasy football league every year, about 30% of which are married or co-habiting fathers.