This is the sixth installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here.
Heading into the 2011 season, the NFL lockout cast a pall over the OIL. No one knew if the labor dispute would be resolved in time for fantasy football leagues to salvage the season. But this was the OIL; it had faced worse.
Newly-added Yancy Baldwin (who was on the 2006 SECFOR mission and 2008 Ramadi mission) was in Iraq again, so the lockout was the least of our concerns. We'd all been there,some of us more than once. And we'd all known Schuster before he spent months in Walter Reed. That always kept things in perspective.
Everyone hoped for the best and made plans for the season. Fortunately, the lockout was resolved, and year six of the OIL went off without a hitch.
CLIBURN: Duffy upped the rivalry ante in April by publicly calling me out.
DUFFY: And I was committed. I let Cliburn know I wasn't going to let him relax one bit. The Hangovers hated the Arrogant Americans. That extended to our respective Facebook pages.
CLIBURN: Then, shortly after Duffy's taunting, I made our rivalry official. While I was at it, I recognized all the rivalries that had developed over the years. From that point on, week 13 would be Rivalry Week.
While the OIL was born in Baghdad, the Hangovers/Arrogant Americans rivalry evolved slowly over multiple locations. The franchises were rivals long before the league permanently matched them up for Rivalry Week. And it came naturally. They prepare the entire season for their annual matchup.
Your commissioner and champion has changed zip codes (with much help from The Adam Duffy), so the Harrington Trophy has found a new place to call home as well. It's not the most glamorous of mantles, but I'm not complaining. I'll see all of you at the draft on the 27th in Lawton. There, I'll let you touch the Harrington if you'd like. I can't wait for this season to start, my first one as a defending champion. I'm starting a new career path and don't know how much free time I'll have, HOWEVA, I will never forget that our trophy is named after a man who won the entire ESPN.com network of fantasy football leagues while losing his job, his girlfriend, his health and his home. Arrogant Americans in 2011!