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Fantasy football for a cause

Hey, fantasy players - yes, I mean you: Do some good, donate some of your winnings to charity

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By John Sleeper,
Herald writer
Published:
An open letter to the thousands of fantasy football league players in Snohomish County:
Good morning, all!
Let's be honest here. You know who you are. You know your sullied reputation. Some of you call the newspaper daily to catch up on injury reports, as if that's our job. Some delay the family dinner because you're on deadline and you have to call in your lineups. Still others of you pore over lineups hour after sweating hour at the expense of showering, eating, sleeping and walking the dog.
Well, kids, here's your chance to chew all the bad pub into sawdust.
Save your rep. Give a little to those who really need it.
Give some (or more than some) of your winnings to your area food banks. Or instead of collecting fines in your office pool and using the money for Super Bowl Blowout and Debauchery Night, hand over a few bucks to help the hungry.
It's a challenge dreamed up by Snohomish Food Bank executive director Daryl Bertholet, who, not surprisingly, has been a fantasy football player for 21 years.
"We're not trying to promote gambling or anything like that," Bertholet said. "But we know it's out there ... There's a lot of money that goes around in football. There's a lot of money being wagered. I just thought that people would feel good about it and start giving back to the community, to the local food banks around here."
Think of the thousands of fantasy players there are here. Now, think of what would happen if each of you donated even 5 percent of your winnings or even league fines. How many of our neighbors could use that to buy food?
The numbers of people going hungry are staggering and distressing. According to America's Second Harvest, one of every five children in Snohomish County lives at or below poverty level and has little hope of eating enough to stay healthy. County rates are nearly twice that of the national average.
In the state, about 12 percent, or nearly 500,000 people, face hunger issues. Many are fixed-income seniors who have to make the choice between paying for prescription drugs or for food.
Bertholet says he has no target amount of money in mind to raise from fantasy football league participants. Most of all, he'd like to rekindle the spirit of giving.
"I'd just like to create the pattern of people giving back to the community," he said. "There are a lot of people who do a lot of things in the community. But volunteering is on a decline. We'd like to create an awareness that there is a need for volunteering and giving back to the community."
Think about it in between times you sweat over using Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald.
* n n
In a rare instance of misguided judgment, the boss has granted me a blog.
Yes, a blog. A Web log I can use to do pretty much whatever I want with. Hoo, boy!
And as further proof that he has a sizable rip in his marble bag, he has given me the go-ahead to develop it in any manner I choose. He says he's too busy to get involved. I say the last thing he wants is to get his name tied up in this in any fashion whatsoever.
Whatever the case, here's a chance for us to exchange ideas and/or verbal abuse about sports issues of the day. Dubbed "Dangling Participles," here's the blog's format that I envision: Several times a week, I'll throw out stuff on, say, Michael Vick or Barry Bonds or Joey Chestnut, storied gorger of tube steaks. Ideally, we'll have something that resembles a free-flowing dialog that doesn't stink. Or does. It's up to us.
Let's have some fun with a minimum of profanity.
"Dangling Participles" should make its debut on The Herald Web page in a week or two. Click on www.heraldnet.com and let's talk.
Or argue.
It's up to you.
Sports columnist John Sleeper: sleeper@heraldnet.com

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