Jen’s Friday Night Insights: “Freddie!”

Meeting new people. Ugh. Am I right? Meeting new people during a pandemic. Even more “ugh.” Am I right? I’m a big fan of living inside my own bubble and am perfectly content with the people who I already know and have a history with. A kid changes everything. 

It was March 4 when a woman approached me in the parking lot of my 3-year-old son’s school. She was being dragged down the asphalt by her 3-year-old son and introduced herself as “Freddie’s mom.” I instantly was able to put a face to a name. The kid dragging her through the snow and ice of the parking lot was Freddie!

Jackson, my son, had spoken of the elusive Freddie many times. However, during a pandemic, the school drop-off and pick-up procedures had changed. For one, parents weren’t (and still aren’t) allowed inside the school. They also stopped the parent participation requirements and parents no longer had (still don’t have) parent-helper days wherein they volunteer to participate in the classroom one day per month. 

So, I really had no way of finding out who Freddie was, besides shouting in the crowd of six-foot-distancing parents at pick-up and drop-off. Can you imagine? “Hello! Is anyone here the parent of Freddie??”

Back to the momma having her hand pulled by Freddie. Freddie was on her left side and she struggled to hand me her phone number across her body. There. On a piece of the lid of a granola bar box was her name and phone number. I didn’t know it at the time, but that moment has changed our lives.

It’s really not a big deal, but we don’t like meeting new people. It generally means trying to get out of commitments, or going to events, dinners and parties that we don’t want to go to. Ugh. Meeting new people. Am I right?

Normally, yes. In this case, no. I texted Mom right away, before we even left the parking lot of the school. Jackson had been talking about Freddie for months and his mom and I had finally connected. I wasn’t going to let Jackson’s first playdate slip through my fingers because I was scared to meet someone new. 

It was days before I heard back from Mom. I was like, “did she regret giving me her phone number?” “Did I say something offensive?” “Did she change her mind?” All the silly thoughts that ran through my head vanished when she texted back and offered up a date, time and location for our meet-up.

As I said, it was March and it was snowy and cold here in Colorado. But, with COVID-19 still looming and the vaccine not yet available, an outside playdate was the best option. We all wore masks and trudged through the snow at Majestic View Park. The two boys built slides with piled-up snow, made snow angels, threw snowballs and dug snow holes with their plastic construction toys.

Jackson and Freddie up to their knees in snow at Majestic View Park in Arvada, Colo. on their first playdate, March 16.

The parents talked about generalities and backgrounds and Mom mentioned that her husband was “really into fantasy football.” We had an immediate connection there! We let the boys play for about an hour, then parted ways. Their family was getting ready to host relatives, so I knew it would be a while before we saw them again outside of school. 

It was 2 months later when we finally had a chance to hang out again. This time was at a winery about an hour north of where we live. And Dad and 1-year-old daughter were there, too. The weather was finally decent enough to be outside and not freeze to death. We figured it would be a good time because we had now met Dad and Daughter at pick-up and drop-off several times.

We ended up hanging out with them for 6 hours and had a blast. Minus vacations, we have seen each other almost every day since May. We’ve had dinners, playground dates, hangouts at each other’s houses, adventures picking fresh fruit from a local-ish farm, zoo dates, parent’s date nights and we’re going with them to their mountain house this weekend. Oh, and Mom and I even share the same birthday! It’s like they’re the friends we’ve never looked for.

Freddie and Jackson are best friends and act like brothers. They push each other’s buttons, roughhouse for the first 15 minutes of every interaction, steal each other’s toys and love each other so much. They love all the same cars and movies and have a brotherly love that will bond them for life.

Mom and Dad, my husband and I have a wonderful relationship. We understand each other’s sarcasm, laugh at the same jokes, enjoy the same drinks and love the outdoors (them, more than us – they’re runners and we’re the opposite of runners).

We feel so lucky that Mom went outside of her comfort zone and handed me the torn-off tab from a granola bar box with her phone number on it. We look forward to the shenanigans that are still in store for us and our families.

Never be afraid to meet new people. They could change your life for the better. And hopefully, Mom and Dad aren’t thoroughly creeped out if they read this column. Fingers crossed!

Meeting the right new people and having new experiences, can often create an unforgettable feeling. One similar to how it feels at the beginning of every new NFL season. With it being the first Friday night of the NFL season, let’s talk about some football!

Jen’s Friday Night Insights

I made the foolish decision to join 23 Fantasy Football leagues this season. The offers kept coming in and I only declined two of them. Last season, I had nine leagues and before that, I only had my home league. Talk about a journey! From one to 23 in two seasons. 

It’s been especially difficult because all but five have been startup dynasty or redraft leagues. That means rounds and rounds of drafting. I’ve been drafting every single day since May 16. And by the time this column is published, I might still be drafting in one league. Yep, that’s right, one day after the opening night of the NFL season.

The interesting thing I’m looking forward to watching is my reaction to all the games. By participating in 23 leagues, it’s safe to say that I have one of every player in the league. Some weeks I’ll be happy that I have the consensus No. 1-overall player Christian McCaffrey and in the same week, I’ll be upset because I’ll likely have played against a team who started McCaffrey. 

It will likely be a rollercoaster of a season, but I’m all for it. Here are a few of the players I, and many other fantasy managers drafted that I’m looking to make blossoming and everlasting friendships with starting early as this week.

One Potential New Friend

Jerry Jeudy (WR, Denver Broncos)

Jerry Jeudy led Denver in receiving yards last year as a rookie with 856.

Jerry Jeudy didn’t start his career with Denver in the most positive light. He was expected to knock our socks off but failed to deliver. He was targeted 113 times, for 52 catches, 856 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. Those numbers look pretty good, but he dropped the ball 10 times and had two fumbles. He was, however, in a new offense with a second-year quarterback in Drew Lock.

Things are looking up for Jeudy for 2021. Veteran quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, has been named the Broncos’ QB1 and will lead the helm in that offense.

Even with Courtland Sutton’s return, Jeudy is expected to maintain momentum from his preseason performance. He impressed fans, analysts and fantasy managers with 77 yards through two games in limited work.

With his excellent route-running, one full year under his belt and a great working relationship with Bridgewater, Jeudy is on the upswing and should make for a new friend on your roster in 2021.

Next New Bestie

CeeDee Lamb (WR, Dallas Cowboys)

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding CeeDee Lamb this offseason. Rightfully so! Even with Dak Prescott going out with a season-ending injury last year, Lamb was able to haul in five touchdowns over 74 receptions and 935 receiving yards. And all of that production was with a rotation of four different quarterbacks. 

Prescott and Lamb’s relationship will reach new heights this season with Prescott’s return to the gridiron. Lamb is an explosive talent who was drafted 17th overall, just a year-and-a-half ago. And if the Thursday night opener is any indication of future things to come, I think Lamb and I will be great friends. Prescott targeted him 15 times, resulting in seven catches, 104 yards and a touchdown.

Cue the classic song from Disney’s “Toy Story,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman.

I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch the upcoming 2021 NFL season unfold. Cheers! If you choose to make any of my drink recipes, I’d love to see them! Please take a picture and tag me!

Bi-Weekly Drink Recipe:

Welcome to Bronco’s Country

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz blue Curaçao
  • 4 oz Sprite or club soda
  • Orange slice for garnish
  • Combine gin, blue Curaçao and Sprite over ice in a glass and stir
  • Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!

Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.