“Tell Buffy to chirp me!”  Hilarious.

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1975 Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech – The Rudy Play


I dare you not to get a little choked up when Rudy finally gets to play.

“You’re five feet nothin’, and hundred and nothin’, and you’ve got hardly a speck of athletic ability, and you hung in there with the best college football team in the land for two years! And you’re also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself.

When I think of the Wall Street Journal, the words “respected”, “prestigious”, and yes, “serious” come to mind.  However, last Saturday they ran an article about lolcats (and as awesome as I think those are, I wouldn’t have expected to run across them in WSJ), and I definitely wouldn’t expect an article about beer pong to show up. 

However, the article is kind of timely considering that college football season starts tomorrow.

Because I’m somewhat of a football geek, some of my friends have asked me to write a “girl’s guide to fantasy football”.  Now, I didn’t like the idea of a girl-only guide, because whatever advice and knowledge I have applies regardless of gender and learning the basics is virtually the same experience whether you happen to be male or female.  Besides, I can’t stand it when people assume I know nothing about sports because I’m a girl (the fact that I do a lot of fashion writing probably doesn’t help matters).  Last time I checked, an appreciation of Christian Louboutins and a perfectly executed trick play were not mutually exclusive.

Okay, deep breath.

Anyways, I’ll get off my soapbox and on to the topic at hand.  Here are a few good beginner’s guides if you’ve never participated in a league before – remember however, that rules and scoring systems can differ from league to league, so be sure you’re aware of your league’s idiosyncracies. 

Some drafting basics – prioritize and get your running backs first, quarterbacks second, wide receivers third, tight ends fourth, and kickers and defenses last (unless your league uses individual defensive players, but that seems to be fairly rare, so I’m not going to get into that here).  It’s important to separate your players from their overall team – bad teams can have players that put up good fantasy numbers (for instance, Detroit Lions QB Jon Kitna is typically pretty solid, but his team’s performance falls somewhere between dismal and godawful on the overall scale). 

You don’t have to do insane amounts of research, but it’s a good idea to look over the preseason rankings and have a copy on hand when you draft your team, if only to help you out in the later rounds.  After all, you might have a good idea of who the top players at each position are, but after the first few rounds the marquee names are gone and you’re left asking “who the hell is Bernard Berrian?” That’s why you want to have some kind of plan and a cheat sheet to consult.  Here are the Fox Sports rankings for the top 500 players to get you started.

Another essential point – don’t neglect your backups.  Just because you drafted Peyton Manning doesn’t mean you don’t need a second or even third decent QB, because every team has bye weeks or god forbid, your starters could get injured.  This is (hopefully) painfully obvious, but it’s better to shoot for depth instead of hanging your whole team on a big performer. 

Speaking of bye weeks, watch out for those – you don’t want your best players to all share the same weeks off (there are usually four or five teams on a bye at a time).  However, I wouldn’t spend too much worrying about this on draft day – you can always trade around after the fact, and that brings me to my next point: unless you’re in some kind of insanely strict keeper league, you can always trade or pick up another player on the waiver wire (where the free agents go after the draft and/or they are dropped from a team – in most leagues, waiver wire priority goes in reverse order of the draft picks, your mileage may vary).  It’s also smart to pay attention to injury reports and grab backup players when you hear of a starter getting hurt – after all, the backup is the new starter then.

When it comes to injuries and suspensions, well, that happens.  Many fantasy owners advocate “handcuffing”, or drafting the backups for your star players so that you’ll always have someone to cover for them.  While I’m not necessarily 100% against that strategy, I’d advise you to pick the player with the higher ranking/better stats over the player who backs up your starter.  You can always hit the waiver wire if necessary and this way you’re not putting all your eggs into one basket (or placing all your bets on one team, in this case). 

Finally, start your star players.  Some people will tell you to sit your best RB when he’s facing the NFL’s number defense against the run, but sticking with your top performers will help you more than hurt you in the long run.  Remember, star players are stars for a reason – they put up big numbers, even against good teams. 

First of all, I wish that this book had been around when I was, oh, fifteen or sixteen.  In fact, I’d recommend giving copies to any girls in your life who are around that age – or any women who constantly say “I’m not a feminist or anything, but…”.  Like author Jessica Valenti says, if you have to preface any statement with that kind of caveat, you probably are whatever you’re denying. 

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Clearly, I enjoyed the book.  In my case, however, Full Frontal Feminism was preaching to the choir – I’m a card carrying member of NOW, I already identify as a feminist, and I even subscribe to Feministing.com, the website Jessica founded.  Obviously, I didn’t need to be convinced of anything – but I have kind of a sinking feeling that the people who would really benefit from reading it might not give it a chance.

In case you weren’t aware, feminism is not particularly cool.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a woman or girl use the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but…”, I could retire tomorrow.  This includes my experience in womens’ studies classes – if there was anywhere where you’d be unlikely to be attacked for being a feminist, you’d think it would be there.  Seriously, are the negative connotations of feminism really that bad?  Do people just assume that all feminists hate men and want to subjugate or punish them?  Because I assure you that’s just not the case here (quite the contrary, in fact). 

Anyways – whether or not you consider yourself a feminist, whether you’re a man or a woman (but especially if you’re a woman), do yourself a favor and pick up this book, check out feministing.com or similiar sites (check out feministing’s blogroll for TONS of related blogs and other cool sites), and get beyond the stereotypes for once.  Because seriouslu, here’s the dictionary definition of feminism:

1.  Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

2.  The movement organized around this belief.

That’s all – and honestly, what woman can’t get behind that?

Link the Amazon page for Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Women’s Guide To Why Feminism Matters.

Edit: I know that some people might not appreciate the author’s casual tone, but I have a feeling that the engaging, conversational style will probably appeal to more people than a more formal voice.  Besides, a book doesn’t have to be a hyper-serious academic text to be smart, informative, and powerful.  That said, I think this is an excellent “gateway” book for those unfamiliar with feminist literature. 

My Tumblelog

August 26, 2007

I’ve created a tumblelog – http://jacquelinezenn.tumblr.com/.

For those of you who aren’t aware of tumblelogs yet, they’re basically stream-of-consciousness, short-form mashups of things that the blogger(s) finds interesting. Mine includes feeds that I read regularly, links to cool stuff, and well, anything else I decide to put up there. Anyone else have a tumblelog?

Edit: an article about tumblelogs.