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The reality of fantasy was Ron Adams

September 05, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

Writers love to write about irony.

It's a great subject until it puts you on center stage.

Irony hit me on Wednesday ... and to be honest, it flattened me.

Wednesday was when my world of fantasy became reality. No matter how I tried to separate it this time, the wrinkles remained.

For the last 10 years, fantasy sports have been a safe haven for me. After covering sports for all these years, playing fantasy football and baseball was the way to get away from it all. I could get into my little shell of being a fan again while paying close attention to games for business purposes.

It wasn't real. It was an adult playland. In fact, I am the local "Mr. Rogers" of the Herald-Mail. I am the commissioner of the "neighborhood" for us newspaper types.

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It allowed me the opportunity to socialize with the people I work with while meeting many new friends.

One of those new friends was Ron Adams.

Ron fell into the H-M crowd purely by accident. He was the father of Nicole Row, one of our former stringers. She played in our football league and introduced Ron to the neighborhood a few years ago when we had an opening.

When it comes to sports - especially fantasy sports - Ron's a purist.

He's always played to win, but he played to have fun.

He's always enjoyed the competition, but he never seemed to be bothered deeply if he won or lost his game.

He always looked for talent in the draft early, but settled in to take some of his favorites and players he knew so he could enjoy watching and rooting for them.

Most of all, he's always been one who just wanted to be one of the guys and socialize with a new set of friends he met through Nicole.

On Aug. 26, he showed up to draft in our 20-team league. He was excited. He wanted to play. He had been looking forward to it all summer. Quite honestly, those draft days have been the only time I really had a chance to see and talk to Ron over the years.

And he had even more to be excited about this year. He had the first pick of the entire draft - which he used to take Kansas City running back Larry Johnson - for his Who's Your Daddy team. This was going to be his first passion in his newly found world of retirement.

He quietly studied his options while the rest of us around him were making our picks. He stuck to his normal plan: Play to win and have fun, be competitive but not overly serious and get some talented players to go with his cast of favorites.

Mission accomplished. The world of fantasy enjoyment was secured.

Then reality intruded.

Ron, 66, died last Wednesday. It was a heart attack. It was sudden. It was unexpected. It was unfair.

Ron had so many things to look forward to as he entered the later part of his life. Rooting for Larry Johnson and Who's Your Daddy was a guilty pleasure, be it was on the list. He had grandchildren and lots of leisure time to spend with his wife Carolyn, who had also just recently retired.

But on the seventh day, he planned to rest, watching football.

Unfortunately, reality made sure fantasy never came true.

Selfishly, it left an uneasy feeling in my playland.

It's supposed to be a place where everyone plays forever. Players can decide to grow up and move on, but passing away was never an option.

As commissioner, it made me make a whole bunch of decisions I never anticipated I would - and never really wanted to - make.

Without getting into too many details, Larry Johnson and Who's Your Daddy will play on this season in honor of Ron.

It is the fitting thing to do. Ron looked forward to play in this fantasy football league. And in his memory, Who's Your Daddy will play to win and have fun, be competitive but not overly serious and get some talented players to go with his cast of favorites.

Ron Adams played fantasy football for all the right reasons. It wasn't for the money or the misguided glory of winning. It was for the enjoyment. It was to be with friends. And maybe, it was a chance to be part of what had become Nicole's world.

Sometimes that seems to get lost in it all.

And in Ron's memory, maybe, just maybe, Larry Johnson and Who's Your Daddy will find a way to win the league title this year.

It would be fantasy's way of paying back reality for being so cruel.

And it would be the ultimate act of irony.




Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com

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