Monday, November 24, 2014

Catch That Catch?

After cashing in a couple of freerolls over on the new Fantasy Draft site -- winning some “Fantasy Bucks” which I cannot withdraw but with which I can enter real money games -- I jumped in one NFL contest this weekend and ultimately bubbled the money.

I’d built a decent roster and picked up some unexpected points from players like Cleveland Browns’ rookie running back Isaiah Crowell who scored a couple of TDs against the defensively-depleted Atlanta Falcons. But others who I’d expected to produce didn’t -- guys like the Colts’ Reggie Wayne and the Pats’ Rob Gronkowski, both of whom caught passes but didn’t reach paydirt -- and so going into the Sunday Night game I was already essentially doomed to finish outside the “Payout Zone.”

I did have one player left on my team, though -- Odell Beckham, Jr., the New York Giants receiver -- who I’d included as my “flex” player. And yeah, even though I was a bit too far out to make a run at the cash, he made things interesting.

Indeed, he even made it seem for a while like I might even get there. I mean, after that catch, anything seemed possible.

With two TDs, 10 catches, and 146 yards receiving, Beckham earned more fantasy points than anyone yesterday. He also earned a permanent spot in all NFL highlight reels going forward.

The play reminded me a little of Bob Beamon’s record-shattering long jump, something I’ve written about here before, mainly because of the way Beckham quickly hopped up and walked around afterwards as though he didn’t find anything especially surprising or unexpected in what he’d done.

Of course, the big difference was how Beamon (and most watching the ’68 Summer games) actually didn’t initially realize his achievement, in his case breaking the world record for the long jump by more than two feet. With Beckham’s catch everyone knew instantly it was something extraordinary, thus making his subsequent nonchalance all the more entertaining to see.

Folks quickly began passing around video clips of Beckham making similarly eye-popping one-handed grabs in other contexts such as receiving a kickoff or in warm-ups, though none amid such duress as was the case during the second quarter last night.

Those clips might’ve helped demystify the catch a little, but only a little. They made me think a little of watching a card trick, like Beckham had some secret knowledge about how to pull something off that had been previously hidden to the rest of us.

Super slo-mo replays from every angle likewise helped explain what couldn’t be appreciated live and at full speed, but that, too, didn’t take much away from the continued astonishment -- the surprise at being still surprised -- with each viewing.

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