On wormholes and fantasy football

aaron_croppedIn the movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” caretaker Uncle Rico can’t escape past mistakes. “If I had a time machine,” he said, “you’d better believe things would be different.” He was referring to a football game in which he didn’t even play, but also life. So, too, go the folk mantras of many among us this week as the opening of (fantasy) football season arrives.

The NFL has now long supplanted baseball as the most-followed professional sport in American culture. One need only watch a single commercial break on ESPN to know that the audience of football fans has the most economic power of any other group, and uses it for arguably the most vapid of pursuits (beer, chips and tiny screens to watch football in the bathroom). But knowing how stupid it all is fails to prevent many of us, myself included, from joining in. Maybe I, too, need a time machine?

Scientists now argue, according to an item on Mashable.com via LiveScience, that travelling through time isn’t as far-fetched as once believed. However, the method of travel is unlikely to be a machine, a la H.G. Wells, but rather a wormhole. (“Wormhole best bet for time travel, astrophysicist says”).

These wormholes exist now; it’s just that they are too small to send a person or anything more than a few atoms, at least for the time being. (No pun intended).

Whatever you think about all that, you’d better believe that if I had a time machine, I’d go back and everything would be different. Oh, no, I wouldn’t go back to tell past me to stay out of fantasy football. I’d tell him (me) to draft differently in 2006. I’d tell him (me) to start different players in the pretend playoffs in 2011. But mostly, I’d ask him (me) what was going on then?

See, I forgot. The thing about fantasy football is that there are so many names and data sets to absorb that almost none of it ends up committed to long term memory. I can recall that I used a different avatar (that means “picture”) for my team a few years ago. I know that because it’s still on my flash drive. I can go to my oldest computer, my oldest web browser bookmarks, and there I will find cave art. Surely this Ron Dayne fellow must have meant something? He seemed so important in this era. They called him a “sleeper.”

One thing scientists seem to agree on, again hearkening back to that Mashable story, is that going into the future will be easier than going into the past. The curve of time seems to allow that one could penetrate the time dimension without violating Einstein’s theory that nothing can go faster than light. You just take a Super Mario Brothers tube, and wham-o. It’s the future. And if you were Mario (ie: the width of a few electrons) you really could do it.

There’s a guy in my fantasy football league that took the Miami Dolphins logo and gave the porpoiseoid a Bowser shell, like from Super Mario Brothers. See, he likes Mario and the Dolphins. We’re deep like that, fantasy football guys.

Returning to Uncle Rico, we recall that he did acquire a time machine. A real one. From the Internet. He plugged it in. It did not work. He realized that his lumbering contemporary frame was practically bound to the current time. Only then did he recognize that life is in the moment, and become ready for a beautiful woman with a European accent to ride a bicycle up to the van where he lived and say “hello.”

I sure hope my fantasy football draft goes well tonight. If I could fit through that wormhole I could go to the future to find out.

If I only had a wormhole. You can bet that if I did, things would be different.

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range author and instructor at Hibbing Community College. He writes the blog MinnesotaBrown.com and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This column was originally published in the Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

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