Way back in 1999, young 11-year-old Ryan Jensen sat upstairs at his grandmother’s house in Normal, IL behind an ancient Compaq machine running Windows 95. He reached down to turn the computer on while the reflection of his acne-ridden face and fluffy, red bed-head looked back at him through the black, 13-inch, 35-pound computer monitor.
This day would be the start of something extraordinary.
After about 90 minutes, the computer had started and Jensen was logged into America Online (AOL) with the ESPN fantasy football draft room loading. This was the first fantasy football season that Jensen ever participated in, and the draft literally took like 6 hours before his grandma picked up the phone and booted him off the internet, with only 10 rounds finished. He went on to finish that first season 13-1 in a league of a bunch of random people, easily securing the #1 seed, but was swiftly defeated in the postseason. Similar to the career of Jensen’s youth sports (football, basketball), he always finished 2nd. In fact, from grades 4-12, Jensen experienced a total of ten 2nd-place finishes with zero championships. It’s easy to understand that the champion complex had set in early to poor young Jensen, turning him into an obsessively-compulsive data cruncher, looking for an answer to that ever elusive championship.
As the internet began to improve, the league expanded along with it. Jensen signed up for a random NFL.com league with Jake Wilson in 2006, their freshmen year of college. Wilson lost his selected 1st overall pick, the previous year’s MVP, Shaun Alexander, to injury while Jensen had smooth sailing with LaDainian Tomlinson with the 2nd pick during his 31-TD campaign. However, Jensen’s regular season success once again did not translate in the playoffs, and another 13-1 campaign was extinguished.
A few years down the road with a whole slew of owners, the league looked more exciting than ever. Still using the ESPN interface in 2010, this league consisted of Ryan Schwegler, Andrew Dobson, Gary Eschen, Jarrett Kimberly, Aaron Vaiden, Sean Gomez, Caleb Shearrow, Luke Larson, Nathan Carlson and Jared Miller in addition to Jensen & Wilson. Perhaps the highlight of the season was when fantasy football novice Larson drafted Robbie Gould with the 7th overall pick, shouting “Robbie Gould Lock It Up” as he was certain he had just made a great decision. Jensen qualified for the playoffs once again but started an inactive Andre Johnson and wound up losing by 3 points in the semifinal. Surprisingly, 2010 was before Jensen had a smart phone and was driving on the interstate and didn’t catch the news. Shearrow ended up winning the league despite not doing anything to manage his team all season besides draft, and drastic measures were taken by Jensen to improve the integrity of the league.
In 2011, it became official that The Poets Dance Fantasy Football League came into existence. This marked the first season with a buy-in price set at an easy $20. The 10-team league pooled the money together to purchase the “Robbie Gould Lock It Up” trophy. The league has seen a total of 14 owners and finally settled on the current 10 in 2013. The league now features a $60 buy-in and transaction fees along with one 5th-round-or-later keeper. The rest of the story continues here, at RobbieGouldLockItUp.com...