The noise in here would drown out jet engines. An estimated crowd of 40,000 is cheering, clapping, stomping, and dancing to the blaring tunes of John Cafferty’s “Hearts on Fire.” A door opens in the back of the arena, and the main attraction appears. His arms are raised.
“… Burnin’ with determination, to even up the score! Heart’s on fire, strong desire, rages deep within. Heart’s on fire, fever’s risin’…”
For a good 30 seconds, he soaks in the adulation. Breaking into a trot, he heads up the center aisle, slapping high fives along the way, letting security take care of the more crazed fans. If the taxman charged a million dollars for smiling, every single person in this room would owe big.
“… Rules and regulations have no meaning anymore! Heart’s on fire, strong desire, rages deep within. Heart’s on fire, fever’s risin’…”
The center of everybody’s attention has reached the stage, and he bounds up the steps with the grace of a tap dancer. Turning around, he finally faces the throng. A microphone rises from the floor, stopping just in front of his face. He takes it from the stand.
“Please!” he yells. “Please! Calm down!”
Almost impossibly, the noise level rises. His pinstriped suit glimmers.
“Absolutely! Absolutely! Give yourselves a hand! The best fans in the world!”
This continues for a good minute, until the speaker’s pleas soak through. He begins again once things simmer to a dull roar. The music dims.
“We’ve all been a part of history, there’s no doubt about that,” he says. “When we started, everybody doubted us. When we hit roadblocks, everybody doubted us. When we announced our intention for perfection, everybody doubted us. But you know what everybody else did? Lost to us!”
Fantasy football coach Josh Massey pumps his fist as the crowd explodes in approval.
“People said an undefeated season was impossible! That it couldn’t be done! Well, they won’t say that anymore! They can’t say that anymore! Because Rooster Illusion has done it!
“Let’s take a look at our accomplishments. Not all of them; that would take the next four or five days. But the highlights. We lost our starting quarterback and first round draft pick, Tom Brady, in the opening minutes of Week One. But our insurance policies – back-ups Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan – stepped in and proved how invaluable good insurance is! Buy insurance! From me!”
The walls shake. The tremors of excitement can be felt a mile away.
“They laughed at us when we drafted Michael Turner in the third round. They scoffed when we started the run on defensive players in the sixth. They said, ‘Why is he signing a rookie running back like Steve Slaton? That guy sucks!’ No! He doesn’t! He doesn’t suck!”
A chant of “He! Doesn’t! Suck!” envelops the room for a short time, until Massey raises his right arm above his head.
“Now we stand on the other side of the playoffs, on the far side of the regular season, and we look back at a perfect 17-0 record. Back-to-back fantasy football championships, and the first three-time champion of Doug Gillett’s Big Ass Football League!”
Windows shatter in the back of the room.
“Now we have work to do. Our record might have been perfect, but there are other improvements to be made. Mistakes have to be corrected. Drafting DeAngelo Williams was genius, but cutting him after a few weeks – not a good idea. Drafting Darren McFadden in the fourth round – not a good idea. And I still haven’t figured out who the fuck Leigh Bodden is, much less why we took him in the 12th round. Those are imperfections, and they will disappear in '09! Until next year's draft, however, bask in the glory of beating Tim Kelly three times in the same season!"
The roof begins crumbling, women convulse, locusts appear.
"Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Big Ass Football League champion Rooster Illusion fantasy football team! Let's celebrate!"
"One day, one night, one moment. My dreams could be, tomorrow. One step, one fall, one falter, east or west, over earth or by ocean. One way to be my journey, this way could be my Book of Days..."