Last Thursday afternoon, in what some may view as a sign of the apocalypse and others may deem encouraging news for the future of America's youth, more than a dozen 7, 8 and 9-year olds gathered in a living room in Aptos, Cailf., for the inaugural Aptos Amateur Fantasy Football League draft. Just like their adult counterparts, the boys wore baseball hats (and one coonskin cap), carried notebooks full of scribbled rankings (some even legible) and appeared to subsist entirely on Rice Krispie treats and beer (okay, so it was root beer). To watch them was to see a distorted reflection of the 20 million of us -- mostly adults, tending toward the obsessive -- who play fantasy sports, and, perhaps even to gain a little perspective.
"We get to go on a raft!" one said.
The smiles turned to frowns. "But we want to go rafting!"
And that, if anything, sums up how these boys see the draft: full of wild possibility. Maybe David Akers
After all, what's so wrong with wild possibility? When the NFL season opener kicks off 10 minutes later, all the dads dutifully take up their positions around the TV in the living room, slumped into easy chairs, beers in hand, eyes glued to the tube. The boys, however, are nowhere in sight. Out in the front yard, close to a dozen of them are on the asphalt of the cul-de-sac, matched up five-on-five and playing touch football in the warm afternoon sun. They run, they yell, they lateral when they shouldn't. The sun dips toward the horizon. Inside, the game began. Outside, life continues.