The frustration has begun.
It is fantasy football season, and after Week 1, I am reminded why after every season I tell myself I've played long enough and it is time to quit.
But when football season starts the following year, all is forgotten and forgiven, and I sign up to play again.
So here I am again this year, playing and cursing the team I picked.
Every year, after every draft, I look at the players I picked and compare them to the players drafted by other "owners," and think, "I can win."
I've been right a couple times over the last decade-plus, but not in a long time.
This year was no different, but it did not take long for reality to set in.
Only my team can enter Monday night trailing by a few points with a great chance of winning, only to have one of my players lose points and cost me the game.
That is not how the game is supposed to be played.
I know fantasy sports are almost as popular as the real sports, but I am not as into them as some, which probably explains why I rarely win.
I like fantasy football because it takes no preparation for me. I do no research before the draft and spend just a few minutes setting a lineup each week.
I have played against guys who make enough roster changes for two or three teams.
I used to add and drop players all the time. I made trades, until I figured out I wasn't very good at it, and since then I avoid making contact with other "owners."
I have played fantasy baseball, but with all the enthusiasm any non-baseball fan has for the sport.
I let the computer pick a team for me, and then I check on it every few months. I was actually in first place for a few weeks at the start of the season, and then sunk in the standings.
That was my season, and I didn't care.
Fantasy football is different for me because it doesn't require much more effort on my part, yet I can be competitive.
Fewer players to choose from and a lot shorter season, and that is why I enjoy it more — unless my players lose points for me.
I played in a league a couple years back in which my kicker made a field goal and I lost points. I still haven't figured out that one, but needless to say, the opposing "owners" enjoyed my pain.
That is the best part of playing, the kibitzing that goes back and forth between the other players.
When I started playing there were a group of us, and all we did was trash each other and our teams. Then I started playing long distance, so there wasn't nearly as much trash-talking going on.
These days, the talking is at a minimum, just me mumbling to myself over a running back losing points.
Why do I bother?
Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.