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Make Me Laugh

Are You Ready For Some Photoshop?

Football is back! Giddyup. Like many American men, the NFL has a tendency to consume my Sundays from September through January. Granted, the obsession has been tempered over the years. A couple years back, when I committed to the Second City’s Musical Improv Conservatory program (classes were from 3:00-6:00 on Sundays), I knew the priority that football played in my life had changed. So, yeah, while I don’t spend as much time parked in front of my TV (with the laptop running to track other games), I’m still excited that football season is upon us. Why? Two words: Fantasy Football.

Fantasy sports have been berry, berry good to me. When I was a kid, before the age of the Internet, I would not only participate but also organize and run leagues (we’d actually tally up points through the newspaper – yikes). It was always a good ole time and great way to connect with my male friends. Yeah, for some reason, girls were turned off by fantasy sports. Go figure.

Well, my sports obsessed brain and compulsion to be the best at everything I do translated to countless championships and piles of extra cash. This continued for years. I could bank on two or three championships just like the Cubs can continually count on waiting until next year. That all changed sometime in the past five years of so when I stopped playing as much and the World Wide Web started to level the playing field. Hey, I still won, just not with the same regularity. Nowadays, I hardly play anymore, but I still have success when I do… except for one league. The one I run that means the most: the C-K league – now, entering year nine.

The C-K league has now (with a couple rare exceptions) become the only Fantasy league (of any sport) that I participate in. I love it because of the wild collection of eccentric characters that make it truly unique. Of course, while it’s my favorite, I’ve never won it. I’ve claimed the regular season title a couple times and I’ve finished third in the playoffs “five” times. FIVE. Meanwhile, in that same time frame, I’ve won dozens of leagues. Heck, I never seemed to lose before I started this one way back when. Perhaps I’m cursed (much like the aforementioned Chicago Cubs).

It all started years ago with ten dudes from my first ad agency job at Cramer-Krasselt (C-K). In the second season, we expanded to twelve teams. Of the initial ten, six have stayed on and been there from the beginning. A few have come and gone, but the majority of the guys in the league have been around for a good chunk (if not all) of the past eight years. When you sign up, you make a commitment. The idea is you’re in the C-K league for life. Of course, of all the current owners, only one dude actually still works there. Who? Check out the picture below.

The snapshot of Steve (or Turtle as he’s affectionately called) seems like a good transition to the motivation for this post. To share pictures! You see, one of the big reasons I love this league is the creative outlet it provides. The draft is an event – in some seasons, on par with the actual NFL draft (heck, one year we had our own green room – a cardboard cut out featuring pictures of most of the prominent players). While that day is always fun, I get the most joy out of doing a weekly write-up or “Weekly Observations.” It’s my own humorous take on the week that was. Included along with the story is some fun with Photoshop where I “honor” the week’s top scorer.

So, let’s get started with some show and tell and share some of the pics that have been created over the past few season. Most of these (40ish) pictures can be found in a “hidden” photo album on Facebook. I hope no one gets mad that they’re being made public (on my mass reaching blog).

PICTURE TIME!

One of the earliest pictures (circa the Fantastic Four movie) was of (Scott) Handler or the Human Torch. At the time, he was “torching” the competition! Get it? (Don’t worry they get better)

For years, Scott would talk about quitting and always come back. Fittingly, this picture made the rounds once.

Desmond has some awesome laughs. In fact, they’re often imitated. Which led me to create this gem as a way to diffuse a tense situation. Not sure if I helped… Either way, the Giggler was born.

While doctoring pictures can be fun, sometimes I don’t even need to fire up Photoshop. Meet Davis Brewer.

Here’s another one of Davis with his buddy Flav. No retouching on this one.

One more of Davis at the beach. Sexy.

Some how Davis won one year. This is the photo that commemorated that victory.

And here’s another one where Davis has dog ears.

Just to prove Davis isn’t the only one who’s Photoshop proof, meet Voo.

Here’s his buddy (and ours) Nathan (with a fish).

And another one of Nathan Pitzel in his Tiger Beat days.

Oh, and one last shot with one of his more typical expressions.

Speaking of NP, you may not have known this, but he collaborated on an album with Desmond.

Nathan also thought Desmond and Davis looked alike. He never lived that one down. That “insight” inspired this classic (admittedly the picture that week was somewhat mailed in).

Desmond was BFF’s with Steve (yeah that guy named Turtle from above). Here’s one of the two of them hanging out at a fiesta.

Often times, those fiestas made Steve overwhelmed with joy. As seen here:

In addition to Turtle, Steve has also been known to be a Jimmy Kimmel look-a-like. Here he is with a special guest.

Speaking of look-a-likes, Tim VanAltena kind of resembled Kevin Smith AKA Silent Bob. A charter member, TV went from last to first, back to last and a couple years ago left the league. Before departing, he pushed his version of Punch Out.

One of the original six that stuck around, JT or Mr. Salty, has had his share of photos over the years. This is him in his younger days:

Here’s Jonathan Taylor using a more up to date likeness:

And finally, JT as a cartoon (courtesy of South Park):

Ryan Blick was one of the more recent additions to the C-K league. He’s also the leader of the nation known as Blick America.

Wisconsin’s Scott Von Rueden was another recent signing. He often gives me a break from Photoshop. Here’s one of him eating a hotdog

One of him sweating. Pretty common.


And one last one of him showing his pride. Jeff (more on him later) is Photoshopped in, but Scott’s pride is real. Scary.

Just to show I’m an equal opportunity Photoshopper, here’s a series with yours truly. Let’s start with the boy band:

I now share my team with my good pal Carlton. Here’s a real old picture of us:

One year, we owned both Steve Smith’s. That led to this fun stretch:

It’s also a keeper league. Carlton and I own Tom Brady. That should explain the picture below. It should, but it doesn’t…

Last year we dominated, kind of sneaking up on people:

JT gave us some competition for a while, but the good guys always prevail:

Now, the crown jewel of my adventures in Photoshop is Jeff Razniewski or JRaz as we call him. One season, he started having a little success. At first, Jazzy Jeff was honored by reuniting with the Fresh Prince.

Around Thanksgiving, he won for a third straight week. Turkey anyone?

Jeff kept winning and said, “Hit me baby. One more time.” At least, that’s what I heard…

Then, oops, he did it again.

We were all a slave for Jeff’s greatness

While he was dominant, folks in the league still loved him.

While he’s endured all this attention, at least, he finally won a Championship and got to celebrate on a beach.

After being exposed to the last few pictures, do you think you’ll ever be able to look at Britney the same? I know I can’t.

While trying to wash those images from your brain, you’ll be happy to know when you win in the C-K league, you don’t go unrewarded. When you make the playoffs, there’s always some recognition. I’ll end by sharing a couple examples:

 

So, what was the point of all this insanity? I guess it was to say this is what happens when you play Fantasy Football with me. Let’s just say you’ve been warned.

Are you ready for some football?

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