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Draft night

Tom Hewitt

"Do you know anything astryker2bout football?" asks Sgt. Jeremy Pitcher.

"Because if you do, you're not allowed in the league."

On a Monday night in the Forward Operating Base Warhorse Public Affairs Office, it's time for the fantasy football draft. The six managers huddle around a short desk, rosters and cheat sheets in hand as they draw numbers out of a hat for their draft order.

In a surprise move, Petty Officer First Class Kirk Worley drafts Peyton Manning with the first overall pick, skipping heavy favorite Adrian Peterson. Discussion immediately erupts about the wisdom of Worley's strategy, but Peterson doesn't have far to fall, as he's snatched up by the next manager as soon as Worley affirms his commitment to Manning.

The draft moves on to the middle rounds, and the managers debate the
worth of middle-tier wide receivers. "Brandon Marshall was huge for me last year, but he's got a sucky quarterback this year," laments Cpt. Andrew Lindgren.

"You never know, Kyle Orton could blow up," Pitcher replies.

Lindgren laughs. "Not likely."

Someone remembers the rumor that Brett Favre may be in discussions with the Vikings to once again emerge from retirement. "Oh man, now you ruined it," one of the soldiers says. "He was going to be my surprise last-round pick."

Laughter erupts from the other managers, and they joke about drafting standouts from other sports - Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan.

Outside there's still a war going on, but in the Public Affairs office, just for a moment, it feels like home.