It’s fall and it’s football season and a few of the boys in our neighborhood have a fantasy league. They hear about fantasy football everywhere, but these leagues can be a tad complicated and all-consuming for the little guys. Our league is composed of boys ages 12 to 15, plus three dads, and one mom (me!). We welcome girls too; we just haven’t found any yet.
The draft happens on Labor Day, two days after the final NFL team rosters are released, and three days before the first NFL game. It’s also the last day before school starts when we know the kids won’t have any homework. Our draft, paired with Labor Day, signifies the official last day of summer.
Thanks to the co-commissioners of the Burywood Boyz League (my husband Bill and our son Patrick), they keep the draft simple. Everyone drafts 11 offensive players and one team defense. The commissioners run the draft and keep it moving and organized with a white board. This year, each “coach” starts with the team he drafted last year. He then has the chance to release players and draft new ones. In the end, the boys felt they got their best picks. (For more explanation see Fantasy Football 101.)
Each week during the regular football season, the teams submit to the commissioner their six-man roster which includes: one quarterback, one running back, two wide receivers (or tight end), one kicker, and one team defense. At the end of the football week (after Monday Night Football) the scores are tallied and whoever has the most points wins the week. At the end of the season, we have a playoff.
What’s in it for the Boys?
- Fathers spending time with their sons on something they are both interested in.
- Friendly competition.
- Being a “coach” and researching players to draft.
- Doing meaningful work by studying the stats each week in the sports section and deciding who plays the following week.
- Learning how to manage an Excel spreadsheet.
- Practicing math skills with scoring and stats.
- Having fun!
What’s in it for Me?
I get to throw the party! Of course the food is secondary, but what would a football draft be without stadium food? And, since it is the last hoorah of summer, it could possibly be the last official picnic of the year. So the entire family attends the draft.
- Hot Maryland Cab Dip for appetizer
- Spiced Burgers with Melted Colby Cheddar Cheese
- Hot Dogs (I recommend Ballpark all-beef brand or Hebrew National, both taste-tested by me and both win!)
- All the condiments: pickles, sliced sweet onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mustards, ketchup
- Bagkelley’s Summer Veggies
- Desserts: food the kids can pick up and eat easily while they are drafting players. For today, Pale Summer Cookies. Live it up; it’s the last hurrah of summer.
- Extras: Marion brought watermelon and Melanie brought a homemade peach-blueberry crisp with fresh whipped cream. “It’s healthy, it has oatmeal in the crisp part,” she says apologetically. (I say who cares, it’s delicious!)
The Table Settings
Keep it simple. It’s the day before school starts and you don’t need a lot of clean up. Use sturdy plastic and paper ware. Bring out all the football dishes you have. If you have time, get some team napkins. Decorate or not.
Main thing: the food should be good and everyone should have fun.
I play because they needed an eighth team so the teams could be paired for an end-of season playoff game. The name of my team? “Reed’s Rowdy Gurlz” named for Washington Redskins Safety Reed Doughty — the Kelley’s favorite player on our favorite team. Yes, Reed’s wife, Katie, knows about the name. She grinned (or grimaced, I couldn’t tell) when I told her.
Guess who won the Burywood Boyz Fantasy Football League playoffs last year? Who else? — Reed’s Rowdy Gurlz! Just because I’m throwing a party doesn’t mean I can’t draft a playoff contender team!
Recipes from the Burywood Boyz Second Annual Fantasy Football Draft
Hot Maryland Crab Dip
- 1 pound of cream cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of sherry
- 1 tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard – use any kind, grainy or not, even spicy brown will work (whatever’s in the fridge)
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ cup sweet onion like Vidalia, minced fine, or use scallions, again, whatever you have
- ½ pound of crabmeat – I prefer a local Baltimore brand, Phillips ™ (Maryland Blue Crab)
- Mix well. Spray a pretty baking dish with oil, bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve hot with crackers. This also freezes nicely if you want to make it ahead.
This time I used Williams-Sonoma burger seasoning mix with the ground beef, but you can easily season your own. (Use some garlic salt, Worcester sauce, pepper, cumin, whatever you like.)
TIP: The trick to a good burger is to use meat with a liberal amount of fat in it (like an 80-20 mix. Season it with some good spices and mince some onion in the meat (the kids will never know the onion is in there that way). The trick to grilling is to be patient. Don’t over-flip, in fact, flip only once when one side is done, and don’t flatten with the spatula and release the juices. Keep the grill lid open or the grease drippings could cause a fire.
Melanie says, “Personalize it, baby!”
- 4 or 5 large peaches
- 1- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ c. flour (Melanie uses whole wheat pastry flour)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- grated fresh nutmeg to taste
- ¼ c. butter, cold
Preheat oven to 350. Peel and thinly slice peaches into a two-qt. baking dish. Add blueberries; mix gently. Sprinkle 2. T. flour and 2 T. sugar over fruit and mix gently. Sprinkle vanilla or almond extract over the top.
Prepare topping: combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. You can either do this with two knives, or with a food processor. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the fruit.
Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes, until the topping is browned and crispy. Let cool somewhat before serving. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Of course, you could make this with all peaches, or use any other fruit such as nectarines, apples, other berries, etc. Personalize it, baby!