As I sit here in my Brooklyn studio writing this post, I still don’t think it has fully sunk in that two guys from Sports Illustrated and the MMQB were here interviewing me for a video feature on FantasyTrophies.com. As a ten year old I would draw images of athletes from the covers of SI, totally enthralled in capturing every detail. I would then cut them out and tape them to my bedroom walls as my little shrine to sports greatness. So to now have Sports Illustrated interested in something that I’ve done just doesn’t seem possible. After all, I’m just a guy from Cleveland, Ohio that hand crafts trophies for fantasy sports leagues. A Super Bowl MVP or Cy Young Award was never in the cards and I never dreamed the magazine that I so loved as a kid would actually one day interview me.
Matt and John’s reaction, upon entering my studio, made it clear that they thought they made the right decision. Matt admitted that the story of me starting in my parent’s garage and now producing trophies in a shop in Brooklyn was what drew him to the story. Hearing about how Jay-Z, Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, and other celebrities play for my trophies was just icing on the cake. The real story was on how I found a niche that I love and was able to build a business off of that. Something that I know that ten year old boy would’ve thought was pretty cool as well.
Anyone that knows my Dad knows that he is no doubt the hardest working man you’ll ever run across. I guess when your formative years are spent in Italy, as a shepherd boy working on a farm, it tends to have an influence on who you become. Let’s just say the word “work” isn’t in his vocabulary. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Son, don’t think of it as work and, before you know it, it’ll be done.” So when my parents said they were going to come visit us in New York City during my busy season, I knew that my Dad had giving me a hand as his idea of a vacation. Hey, he was offering so I was accepting. Plus it gave us some time to connect since he’s in Cleveland and I’m in NYC and talking on the phone isn’t either one of our strengths. He came with me to the shop twice and I put him on finishing bases while I filled the numerous orders that came in just before draft season. Once I put on the 50’s station on Spotify I knew he could go all day without even thinking of taking a break. Break? I don’t even think he would’ve asked for a drink of water if I didn’t offer one up.
One thing I do know though is that I haven’t had that type of productive day in a long, long time. And learning a few dance moves was an added bonus.
Thanks Dad and you’re always welcome at FantasyTrophies.com. I’ll provide the music and water.
It’s been a crazy few months filling fantasy football trophy orders so I haven’t really been disciplined when it comes to the blog. I apologize. However, I’m going to be rolling out a few things in the next few weeks and trying to catch up on some of the news that occurred over these past weeks. Here is one thing that happened. I was featured in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Thank you Paula Katinas for writing a nice little article on FantasyTropies.com. Check it out here:
I’ve engraved my fair share of fantasy football trophies over the years and I’m always intrigued by some of the names leagues come up with. Lot’s of leagues go for just a standard title that states the name of the league with an established date underneath. I gotta say, I’m not a big fan of these. On the creativity scale I’m going to give it a 1.9 outta 10. I mean really, let’s spend a little more time and think of a name for the trophy. Memorable trophies are often referred to by a single word and not by what they represent. You don’t call the Heisman the “Best Player In College Football Award” or the Lombardi the “Super Bowl Championship Trophy.” Likewise, a fantasy football trophy should have a unique name, that when referred to, is synonymous with your league. Think “The Shiva” trophy from the television show “The League.”
My league’s trophy is named “The Fedele” after a memorable individual who would drink an entire can of Genny Cream Ale, in one pour, while lying down on his back and never lifting his head off the ground. Give it a try and I think you’d see he was deserving of a fantasy football trophy being named in his honor. It’s practically water boarding with beer. Every time we refer to our trophy we think of ol’ Bill and his amazing talent. Not to mention his epic love for tailgating and the Cleveland Browns. The guy was, and still is, a true legend deserving of our lasting tribute.
So when it’s finally time to come up with a name for your trophy, think long and hard. Don’t go the easy route but instead think of something that will add some humor and history. Believe me, you’ll be happy you didn’t name it the “FFL Championship Trophy, Est. 2015.”
My buddies Bill and Dan with “The Fedele” fantasy football trophy.
If someone would’ve told me that Lisa Ann, the #1 ranked adult film star in the world according to the NY Post, would one day be holding one of my trophies, I definitely would’ve said to please tell me the rest of the story. The recently retired actress and star of such films as “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?,” “Milf Revolution,” and “My Sister’s Hot Friend” (which also stars Nicole Aniston and Jessica James by the way) has now joined the world of fantasy football. An avid sports fanatic is the voice of “Lisa Ann Does Fantasy” on SiriusXM. And believe me, she knows what she’s talking about. All the proof you really need is the fact that she won the SiriusXM Fantasy Football League last year and will now be immortalized with an engraved plate on the front of the Throwback trophy. Congratulations Lisa Ann and good luck this season defending your title.
Made in New York still has a nice ring to it for many people. Count the Japanese in that category. The Japanese television show, “Made In New York,” decided to stop by my shop the other day and do a feature on FantasyTrophies.com. I was initially contacted over a month ago and they asked me if I’d be interested in giving their viewers a taste of how I go about creating my trophies. I was all in. A member of their team, along with a translator, showed up at my studio shortly after to do a preliminary interview and see if everything would work out. After trying to explain what fantasy sports are I was then able to show them some of my process. Both agreed that Fantasy Trophies would make for a perfect segment and that their viewers definitely haven’t seen anything like it.
When the film crew arrived I had all of my trophies laid out. I gotta say, seeing all of them at one time is pretty impressive. It’s easy to forget how many variations I have and how each trophy captures the essence of the sport. The film crew seemed to agree. I gave them a brief history of how Fantasy Trophies came to be including how my cousin Johnny became my model and how I even designed and drew the logo. Then I went through a few parts of the process before they filmed each trophy and wrapped things up. It was great experience and I look forward to seeing the finished episode. And who knows, maybe fantasy sports will become huge in Japan as well.
Fantasy baseball drafts are rapidly approaching and many leagues are going to decide to play for a trophy. The guys of “Stealing Signals” of Chicago are one such league. Mike, the commissioner of the league, reached out to me and had a few questions regarding the Armchair Ace. He admitted that his call was really just to pacify other league members who were on the fence over playing for a trophy. Mike also informed me that he’s in a fantasy football league that plays for The Throwback so he understands what a trophy can do for a league. I have no doubt that they’re going to experience the same excitement once the Armchair Ace shows up and represents their league for years to come. As Mike said, “It all boils down to getting your name on the trophy. The money is just gravy.” Good luck Mike. I’m pulling for you. – Dave
Today was spent prepping the Throwback Fireman fantasy football trophy so that it could receive a brush-on coat of silicone. It’s somewhat a tedious process but one that needs to be done in order to insure every detail of the original sculpture is present in the final cast. You can see in the photo that the brush-on coat is very thin. We do this on purpose so that very few air bubbles appear on the surface of the sculpture and if they do we can easily pop them. We’ll let this cure for 24 hours and then tomorrow the remainder of the silicone will be poured.
The ultimate fantasy football trophy for fireman is finally on the site and ready to represent your firehouse. Yes, the Armchair Quarterback Fireman is now LIVE on FantasyTrophies.com. What’s unique about this trophy is that you can add a customized helmet by clicking on the “plates” button on the homepage and putting your firehouse number. I then sculpt it on the helmet before bronze finishing the trophy. Pretty awesome!
Exciting times here at the shop as the Armchair Quarterback Policeman, fantasy football trophy, moves onto the mold making stage. The sculpting process is completed and now a silicone mold is made so that multiple casts can be taken. The first step, which you see in the photo below, is a brush on coat of silicone. The brush on coat is to insure that no air bubbles form in the silicone that will come in direct contact with the sculpture. An air bubble would transfer to the mold and thus the final cast resulting in less detail. Something that just wouldn’t be acceptable here at FantasyTrophies.com.