From this point on there’s likely to be a new set of dilemmas rattling around Saturday morning’s fuzzy head. The Premier League’s Ultimate game is with us from today until the end of the season – albeit in “Beta” form.
A new, sophisticated and complex mistress, it’s yet another pull on my time – a Fantasy Football distraction that will occupy my Saturday, only to rouse me on Sundays to demand that I lavish it with further attention. It’s even promising to pop round on a Monday night. This one’s high maintenance.
Am I the only one wondering if I can cope? Maybe it’s the timing – we’re at the tail end of my indifferent season and I’ve just resigned myself to slipping on the comfortable slippers of mediocrity. Ultimate is asking me for some renewed energy and inspiration and, more to the point, I have to find room for it all.
There’s no doubting the attraction. The 25-man squad, the new emphasis on statistics, the downplaying of price changes that have had a love/hate relationship with the game we all know and love. We should welcome these new twists, although I doubt I’m the only one questioning how the new demands will find a place in the routine.
My squad selected, there’s the inevitable tinkering which is pulling on my time this morning. While that task can be abandoned from today onwards, I’m well aware that I will now have to reserve part of my Sunday morning ritual to allow for me to shift players in and out and to contemplate switching the armband.
While Fantasy Football rarely drops below first, second or, heaven forbid, third on my agenda of thoughts, I already know that there’s a real danger there’ll be a Sunday that will see it slip off the radar. I can’t let that happen: that will just give me a reason to abandon the game when I find myself lost in the void of mini-league obscurity.
I will simply have to be ruthless and disciplined. Something will have to give. The Sunday morning trip to the recycle bins. The preliminary small talk with the missus. When I’m forced to venture out and forage for new milk supplies, the journey to the corner shop will have to be fully occupied with thoughts of ditching Charlie Adam in favour of a punt on Jonjo Shelvey.
In addition, I will have to ensure I’m equipped with the ability to “plug in” from all locations – particularly the café up the road – our current favoured breakfast spot. Suddenly, mapping my Sunday morning movements to 3G availability becomes a must. My holy grail will be 4G and wireless passwords – the opportunity to react to Ultimate’s requirements whilst barely breaking eye contact with my girlfriend. With practice, I’m pretty sure I can perfect that.
Forget whether you should gamble on Wayne Rooney. If you’re playing Ultimate, these are the real issues you should be pondering. By all means deliberate your squad but, from this morning onwards, prepare to start shifting your life and preparing partners as the latest tentacle of our Fantasy Football obsession wraps around us.