Winter is coming and you're not feeling like yourself. You've gotten your flu shot, and your throat feels fine, but thing is, you get a little queasy in the evenings. Your eyesight is blurry, your hands are clammy. You have a hard time sleeping... especially on Saturday night. This is a PSA to the men of America: you have a sickness, and it's called the Fantasy Football Fever.
Fantasy Football Fever is an illness (majority mental, proportionately physical) caused by an addiction to Fantasy Football. Its symptoms may be minor, but it's not to be taken lightly. Fantasy Football can be a gateway ailment: more serious issues, such as an addiction to Fantasy Baseball, can follow. And the fever itself may cause an even more detrimental ailment: relationship collapse, also known as Fantasy Widowmaker Syndrome.
The catch is, you might not even know you have it. That stomach flip is just the rush of the game. That blurred vision? Too much beer. Those hand cramps caused by crazed computer clicking? Small potatoes compared to the pain your average linebacker goes through on a weekly basis.
Because you're a tough guy, you're probably reading this and shaking your head like, Nah, brah, I'm enjoying the healthy competition, the camaraderie. I can stop whenever I want to. Don't be in denial. Your infection might live dormant within you year round and you don't even know it. Identify your symptoms. Treat your fever.
Obsessive behavior: Occurring most frequently on Monday nights, Thursday nights and all day, every Sunday.
An inability to acknowledge the world around you: Patient becomes hyper focused on player projections and weekly stats.
Cold sweats, hot flashes and/or outbursts: In response to NFL plays. (Ex. "Where are your eyes, Ref?" or "You have one job, Janikowski!")
Carpal Tunnel: Occurs sometimes in the thumbs or wrist, depending on the device used to play.
Spousal Strain: Frequently infecting the sexual and/or marital partner of the Fantasy Football Fever host, this is caused by the host's obsessive planning and playing of Fantasy Football.
Think you're free and clear of these warning signs? Think again. This fever doesn't necessarily make the infected feel ill. You might have the fever and not even know it until your partner shows signs of infection. The longer you go untreated, the more likely the Fever will infect your loved one.
Think your girlfriend might have caught an infection? Notice your wife acting strangely lately? Identify the symptoms and begin treatment immediately.
Flushed face and tense shoulders: Occurring in conjunction with a Fever Host's obsessive compulsive behavior.
Uncontrollable eye rolls: At the mention of any competitor and/or player in the host's Fantasy Football league.
Aggression: Repeated, vehement attempts to make dinner plans, talk about work and/or relay the neighborhood gossip during important moments of a NFL game.
If you or your partner are experiencing any of these symptoms, you're probably a carrier of Fantasy Football Fever.
Frankly, a lot of America is — especially with playoffs coming up. But have no fear: there are simple steps to take to curing both you and your partner of the Fever. The remedy for both strains is the same.
Go outside: Breathe fresh air. Engage in thoughtful conversation with your partner. (This is easiest when you leave your phone with the Fantasy app at home.)
Take your partner out on a date: Treat her to a meal (wings and pitchers of beer don't count as a meal, c'mon). Don't complain when she chooses a restaurant without TVs.
Watch anything other than football: Catch up on those premium cable shows you've fallen behind on. Pull up your Netflix queue. Don't assume shows about high school football in Texas are her first choices.
Buy your partner a thoughtful present: Do not buy her a jersey, especially a bejeweled one. Ever. Has she been wanting a pair of boots? A new pair of heels to wear to the office holiday party? Listen to her while you're out on a date and then show her you listened, dummy. Nine West will help you, don't be afraid.
Invite your partner to watch football with you: Attempt to calmly, rationally demonstrate why you love the game (research is still inconclusive as to the efficacy of this treatment).
If these treatments don't show signs of improving you or your partner's condition, you may be a Fantasy Fever Windowmaker, close to relationship collapse. In that case, you're pretty screwed. But don't worry: your Fantasy Players will keep you warm at night.
India Nicholas is going to beat her boyfriend in their fantasy football league. Follow her on Twitter.