We’d eat ice cream and drink Coke till our hearts’ content.
The adults would lend us cash to buy in to the poker tournament in the dining room late at night. We’d wait till they all got sauced and end up with all their money, paying them back in about two hands.
My cousin Mitchell and I would perform skits as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while all my relatives looked on in mock amazement.
Aunt Kay’s place was where Mitchell and my sister Twyla convinced me to eat a handful of dirt when I was eight, making me believe it would give me the strength to punch through walls.
Aunt Kay’s was where I was always amazed at the amount of Christmas presents.
It’s where I killed a water moccasin.
Rode my first ATV.
Was the greatest basketball player to ever live (I’m kinda tall for a Worsham).
But most importantly, it was where I spent almost every Thanksgiving.
And every year, everyone from my dad’s side of the family would congregate in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to meet up, shoot the shit, and see how many new members of the family we had. And every year, we’d give thanks for the things we had, stuff our faces with meat and potatoes, then go back to watching more football.
Growing up, grace was really just a momentary sentiment, simply delaying me from scarfing down too much pie, but as you get older, you start to truly ponder on what it is that your thankful for.
And this year, I’m thankful that Aunt Kay is still around.
She was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year and has recently been going through chemotherapy. She’s worked as a hair stylist for as long as I can remember, and having no insurance has really put her family in a bind. So, for the first weekend in November, her family organized a fundraiser to help her out with her bills.
Knowing how much I’ve always loved her and how many amazing memories she has helped me to create, it was pretty painful, not knowing what to expect when I got there. But she looked as great as ever, and we helped raise some serious dough. I bought some raffle tickets and bid on some silent auction items. They even made sold some sweet koozies!
Then I went home afterward, just hoping for the best.
Fast forward to this week, and I needed some fantasy wins. I have a shot at the playoffs in football, but needed to produce in my last few games. Basketball was starting off terribly, and I had already suffered my first loss.
By Sunday, I had already lost my second basketball game, and it looked like I was on my way to losing in football as well.
I needed a walk. So I headed outside and took a stroll to the mail box. I know, it was Sunday, but I really don’t check the mail that often.
Inside was a thank you card from my aunt, for going to her fundraiser.
I was going to bitch this week about losing in both fantasy football and basketball, but honestly, in retrospect, it’s the least of my real life worries, and her thank you card cemented that fact in me.
Indeed, losing in fantasy can be gut-wrenching. I passed up an available Bobby Rainey in our league because I had the strange notion that somehow Darren Sproles was back forreallz.
And in basketball, the curse of DeAndre Jordan continues to rear its ugly head, as the owner who picked him up after I dropped him beat me soundly.
All of the agony of defeat–the torment of knowing the outstanding possibilities that were within your grasp, but are now gone forever–can be absolutely mentally deafening. I’ve never replayed a possible waiver move in mind as much as I have Bobby Rainey. Coulda had him. Coulda won this week over the top seed. Coulda secured my own fantasy destiny.
But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Fantasy sports are no longer a decent distraction in my life, and are my main obsession at the moment. So to know that you made a mistake that could have been avoided is really tough. But losses like this week really help to keep your obsession with fantasy sports in check.
Losses like these help put into perspective the truly important things in your life.
Losses like this week let you know that, no matter how dominant or incredibly sucky you are at betting on human athletes’ performances, the pillars of loved ones will always be there in your real life.
To find out more about Aunt Kay’s journey or to help her by donating, visit Momma Kay’s Facebook Page.