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OPINION

Column: A very real fantasy win, Phil Jackson Glorification Syndrome, and shingles vaccine

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Digging into the “random file” on this very January-like cold, breezy day...

    • Somebody quoted a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song, saying “even the losers get lucky sometime.” Somebody else said something about “even a blind squirrel” being able to find a nut now and then.

    Yes, I won my fantasy football league title this year. Not only did I win what I like to call my 12-team “main” league, run by longtime commissioner Jeff Dufault, but I also won, for the second time in as many years – the league has only existed for two seasons – an eight-team league featuring three dads, our sons and some of their friends.

    “You’re pretty good at this,” one of my competitors told me the other day, with actual full sincerity.

    What can I say? Facts matter.

    • The annual NFL coaching carousel is once again in overdrive, and the hottest offensive and defensive coordinators are being tapped for heading coaching vacancies on several teams.

    One “it” coordinator from last year, Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, has not yet been hired as a head coach. It’s said that coordinators on teams who make deep playoff runs or even make it to the Super Bowl are at a disadvantage because they’re still incredibly busy with their current jobs and can’t be interviewed until their team is eliminated, but it still seems strange that Bienemy, an African-American, is not yet a head coach.

    The NFL has an awkward rule that requires that every franchise, when they have a head coach vacancy, to interview at least one minority candidate. The NFL, the same league that blackballed Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the National Anthem, has also been, at least when it comes to marketing and public relations, very active during the current “social justice” movement. Talk about sending mixed signals.

    In that vein, a columnist recently noted that all of those efforts will be rendered hollow if Bienemy is not hired as a head coach this offseason.

    I tend to agree, but…

    I call it Phil Jackson Glorification Syndrome. Jackson won a whopping 11 NBA championships, six as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and then five more as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. But during his incredible run with the Bulls, he had Michael Jordan. (And Scottie Pippen, I suppose, but if you include Pippen we need to discuss another malady, Scottie Pippen Glorification Syndrome, due to him benefiting from having Jordan as a teammate.) And when Jackson moved onto the Lakers, he had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

    Come on. That’s an embarrassment of riches.

    Bienemy? He runs an offense with the best and most electric quarterback in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes, the best tight end in the NFL, Travis Kelce, and the fastest and most-terrifying-to-defensive-backs receiver in the league, Tyreek Hill. Sure, like Jackson, maybe Bienemy has devised schemes that maximize his star players’ skill-sets and maybe in the process he has made all three players better, but I could run that offense while calling plays from an actual Perkins menu.

    Still, give Bienemy a shot.

    • I am 1,000% pro-vaccination. These anti-vaxxers? They’re trying to undo decades of incalculably valuable scientific and medical achievement and at the same time send society back to a time where things like measles and mumps would be a constant concern.

    So my wife and I each turned 50 and it was strongly suggested that we get the shingles vaccine. It’s said that if you had chicken pox in your youth, there’s something like a 1 in 3 chance you’ll be afflicted with shingles later in life, especially after age 50.

    Shingles is a truly awful skin flare-up that brings with it immense pain. It’s funny; once you hit the half-century mark and start talking about possibly getting the shingles vaccine, how many people seemingly come out of the woodwork, telling you about their bout with shingles and how it brought them to their knees.

    Similar to the COVID-19 vaccine, you get two doses of the shingles vaccine a few weeks apart. My wife and I each got our second doses last week.

    And, again, vaccine lover here, but it hurt. Both shots hurt. Nurses and other medical professionals who administer various shots like to say things like, “You’re going to fill a little stick” right before they inject you, and, man, is that an understatement, at least for me, with the shingles vaccine. When the needle actually punctured my flesh, yowza. And, then, when the vaccine was pushed in, it was a different kind of pain, mixed with a sudden sense I might vomit right then and there.

    “Are you OK?” the nurse and a longtime friend of mine asked.

    “I’m fine,” I replied, in full tough-guy mode. “Great, in fact.”

    Afterward, my upper arm hurt for days, again, more than after any other shot I’ve gotten in my life. And for around 36 hours after each dose, I was afflicted with major body aches and my face was hot all the time.

    But, hey, I’m safe from shingles. And wasn’t that the goal all along?

Fantasy football league commissioner Jeff Dufault, right, presents Mike Christopherson with his trophy after he won the 2020 “Super Bowl” pitting the champions of Dufault’s two 12-team leagues against each other. (Masks were removed briefly for the photo.)