True Life: I'm 27 years old, I'm in a fantasy football league that takes itself way too seriously, & I just re-took the SAT. This is the story of the absurd experience & mind-blowing results.
It was season five of our storied fantasy football league. Fourteen college friends/fraternity brothers sparring in the ultimate competition of strategy, stamina, and athleticism. In the first 4 years of the league, winning wasn't everything, it was the only thing. Fame, fortune, women, endorsement deals...a league champion could expect a life-changing windfall. But in our 5th year, we decided that wasn't enough.
Foolishly, we made a decision that will likely haunt each of us for the rest of our lives: The Loser Punishment. It was a simple, seemingly harmless concept - the two teams with the worst records would square off in The Dumpster Bowl at the end of the season. The Dumpster Bowl Loser would then be subject to a punishment chosen by the prior year's loser. Since this was the first year, we put the inaugural punishment up for a league vote. The winner by a landslide: Re-taking the SAT. "Ha! What an idiot that guy's gonna be!" I smugly thought as I submitted my vote. I was coming off a heartbreaking 2nd place finish and had never been close to coming in last, so I was in no danger of this peril...
After starting out a mediocre 4-4, roughly 50% of the ACL's on my team blow out and I lose the next 5 out of 6 games.
And just like that, I'm sitting in second to last place. It's alright though...no need to panic...I'll be facing Keep Calm & Megatron, a team with an owner so terrible that he would be making his 3rd consecutive appearance in the Dumpster Bowl had it been a thing in prior years. I confidently set my lineup and go on living my life.
Sunday of the Dumpster Bowl
I'm pumped up but I try to stay focused as I spend 7 straight hours lounging hungover on the couch watching Redzone. This is what winners are made of, I whisper to myself as I finish off my second delivery meal of the day.
We both came to play on Sunday and I'm ahead by 8 points. We each have kickers in the Monday night game (Atl vs. GB) but he's also got a banged up Jordy Nelson. It's gonna be close but I'm still optimistic.
4th Quarter. 10:00 minutes left. Still ahead by 5. Nothing big happens and I'm good. And then...Rodgers drops back on a play-action and launches a bomb down the middle of the field hitting Nelson perfectly in stride. My heart sinks as he crosses into the end zone...64-yard touchdown. My vision goes blurry and all sound turns to a low hum. I'm pretty sure I black out and see my entire life flash before my eyes. That's it. It's all over. My fate is set.
I'm going to be taking the SAT again...only this time a full decade older than my spry high school self.
Because the SAT is only offered every few months and I have a life full of Saturday morning conflicts (literally any excuse I could come up with), I put it off for as long as possible. However in order to establish the punishment going into the 2015 season, I have to commit to a date and submit my registration online. The very astute College Board website recognizes that I had already taken the test and requires my original registration number to proceed. Dammit...I knew I shouldn't have thrown all my papers in the air in triumphant celebration on the last day of high school. I reluctantly make a call to the support desk knowing an awkward conversation is coming. A nice Indian woman answers and begins by asking if I am calling on behalf of the son she assumes I have. Nope, calling to sign up myself, I proudly tell her. After 30 minutes of confusion, a team of archaeologists are able to dig my records out of the catacombs. My date is set for November 7, 2015.
The cold reality hits me as my alarm goes off at 6:00 am. Laying in bed still slightly incapacitated from the night before, I question every decision I've ever made in my life. Am I actually going to do this? Maybe I'll just... No. I snap out of it. You're damn right I'm gonna take this thing. When you're playing in the big leagues, you gotta be prepared to take a hit.
As I'm getting dressed I look in the mirror and something dawns on me...I can't show up in my 27-year old, "adult" clothing. How creepy would that look? Some old guy hanging out in a high school on a Saturday morning with a bunch of teenagers...I can't have everyone thinking I'm fresh off the set of To Catch a Predator. I decide my best option is to just take the whole thing over the top: I'll disguise myself as an ironic Millennial high schooler. I don't know what kids wear these days but I did have a 2-week stint as an Abercrombie employee in high school...I'm pretty confident I still know what "swag" looks like.
Upon walking into the school a large group of delinquents ask me what I'm doing there. I just play it cool. Haters.
I make my way into my classroom where the proctor, who is at least 5 years younger than me, gives me a funny, slightly concerned look. It appears that I am the last one to show up and the entire class is staring at me. I swallow my pride and boldly announce that I lost my fantasy football league. I also tell them to stay in school so they don't get mixed up in the dangerous world of high stakes gambling.
I take the last remaining seat in the front row of the class. I don't know why, but I am expecting the test to be on a computer in this day and age. Not only did I not bring a calculator, I didn't even bring a pencil. To be honest, my plan going in is to just sit back and mark "C" down the middle so I can show proof that I sat through the whole thing without the risk of potentially looking like a fool who can't read or do math anymore. Maybe I'll even write a funny inside joke essay that I can share with the league. But as I sit there waiting to receive my test booklet, I take a look around the classroom and realize something: these poor, nervous kids are all looking up to me, undoubtedly moved by my utter courage and commitment to something bigger than myself. Suddenly it is all so clear - it wasn't bad luck or effing Jordy Nelson that brought me here...no, this was something else...this is destiny. I was born for this moment.
The inspirational posters hanging on the walls of the classroom almost bring a tear to my eye.
I decide it is my duty to not let these impressionable youngsters down on the most consequential day of their lives. Invigorated with determination, I channel my inner Millennial and lead that classroom, that army of my faithful disciples, through a 5-hour gauntlet of logic, argument writing, and reading comprehension!
● ● ●
Like a hobbled old quarterback who puts the team on his back one last time to lead an impossible game winning drive down the field, I gave it everything I had left in the tank. One final standardized test for the record books. And despite what the scores may say, we were all MVP's that morning.
Was I a hero to those kids? Nah, I don't think of it that way...but yeah, I probably was.
Anyway, below are my score results and my actual, graded essay:
(Truthfully I decided to actually try about 20 minutes in when I realized how terrible it was going to be to sit idly for 5 hours in the medieval torture device that is a 1-piece high school desk)
(If reading on a phone, flip to landscape to make this easier to read)
A true Millennial Masterpiece
You may need to go re-read that to truly appreciate how absurd it is. Not only was it actually graded, but two separate people deemed it to "Demonstrate adequate mastery". An essay that called one of the most influential people in the history of the world "Abe R. Ham-Lincoln" put my cumulative writing score in the 86th percentile nationwide.
Sort of terrifying when you think about it.
So all in all, was the experience of taking the SAT again really that bad? The answer is yes. Unquestionably yes.
But, remember who gets to choose the punishment this year?
To be continued...
So I'm gonna be trying out this blog thing for a bit. Some friends and I are also creating this ridiculous party game called Pen island. Go check it out. And if you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and share!