If the first 20 days of 2011 is any indication as to what kind of year this will be. It seems as if this will be the year of the homeless man as another homeless man (the first being Ted Williams) has seen he and his family’s life get better by what some people would either call luck, karma or simply God’s will.
Salem native and family man Nathan Harrington beat three million fantasy football players to win ESPN’s fantasy football championship despite not having a place to live or a computer to follow his team on.
Yeah, you heard or in this case read that right. Harrington did something that fantasy football player’s dream about doing without having any of the resources that most fantasy football players have.
Back in October, Harrington, his fiancée and their 3 year old son were forced to move out of their apartment due to infestation of rats. To make matters worse, Harrington had been out of work for about a year because he had suffered nerve damage from a car accident.
Nevertheless, four weeks into the NFL season, Harrington found out that he was in the Top 50 of ESPN’s Fantasy Football Challenge. The only problem was that he had just put his computer in storage after the move. So he had no way of doing the typical weekly roster moves that are necessary when playing fantasy football.
While living out of a duffel bag and hotel, Harrington found a way to periodically use a computer by begging friends, neighbors and total strangers to let him use theirs.
He even used the computers at a nearby nursing home where his father lives as well as the computers at the local library.
Harrington said that he put everything he had into the game because fantasy football was the only thing that seemed to be going right at that time in his life.
Until week 7 of the NFL season, Harrington had Tony Romo as his starting quarterback. However once Romo got hurt with a dislocated shoulder, Harrington was forced to find other options at QB.
Somehow he was able to put together an assortment of quarterbacks throughout the season that always played well when he started them. Including the football messiah himself, Mr. Tim Tebow, who came through for him in a big way.
In week 17 (the final week of the fantasy football season) Harrington was in seventh place and needed to score big in order to get into first. However, with the biggest game of the year for him on the line, he was faced with a major dilemma. Who to start at QB?
His three choices were Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel. He decided to take a chance on Tebow who ended up scoring three touchdowns to help Harrington eek out a very close win by 0.8 points.
That 0.8 is the difference of less than a single yard of rushing.
I am sure the Tebow legend will grow even larger now that he has helped a man win a fictional football game.
So….what did Harrington get for winning ESPN’s fantasy football challenge? A $3,500 gift card to Best Buy, which he sold to his mom for $2,500. He plans to move he and his family into a new apartment.
It’s not the ultra glamorous, story book ending or reward/rewards that Ted Williams received. However it’s still a great story.
I am glad to see that he didn’t let his situation stop him from competing, and that he won a prize for something he felt was the only thing right in his life and in-turn helped he and his family.
- David Johnson