By Jordyn Sava
Since fantasy sports got its start in the ‘60s, it has become more than a game to individuals. People around the world assemble teams of players from different sports and compete against each other for money and bragging rights.
With the NFL season upon us, many are setting up their leagues and preparing their draft picks. While fantasy football may not have been the main priority of 2020, the season is starting up and fans are getting excited.
Being on a sports team connects everyone involved. Coaches, players, fans and everyone in between play a huge role in keeping the excitement alive. The same can be said for fantasy teams. Not only is the process of creating a league and participating in one fun for fans, but it gives individuals a chance to form relationships and have something to look forward to in a socially distant year.
Junior communications major Malcolm Henry, a player for the College’s football team, spoke to The Signal about what fantasy sports mean to him. As a member of the NCAA, Malcolm himself is not allowed to participate in any fantasy league, and instead, focuses his time helping his family and friends maintain the best teams possible within their leagues.
“I started helping because I play football and watch football religiously, so my friends know my knowledge can help them,” Henry said. “The amount of friends I help, I am easily involved in over five leagues.”
The leagues that he, as well as many others take part in, consist of anyone from die-hard fans to individuals who know next to nothing about the games.
Typically leagues can consist of close friends to complete strangers. This gives the opportunity for relationships to form or bonds to be strengthened.
It can be hard to make time for everyone. Being in a fantasy league, no matter the sport, allows individuals to maintain relationships they may have struggled to keep up with before. Because there are televised sports every day throughout the week, there is always something to talk about.
“I watch televised sports whenever they are on TV. I watch all football and basketball games from men's to women's. I watch baseball as well,” Henry said.
Like Henry, many are passionate about staying up to date on what happens in the world of sports.
Fantasy sports have been creating a platform for all fans, no matter how intense a person’s passion for the game may be. Everyone within the league has a chance to place first as long as they stay up to date. Knowing the sport will help, but it’s not always necessary for success.
The world of fantasy has only grown since its start. Fantasy has exploded into a phenomenon that now provides individuals with hobbies and even jobs.
For many, fantasy has helped gain a love for specific sports as a whole. It gives people a reason to care and want to watch each game.
A new generation of fans has also grown from fantasy sports. While in the past fans tend to have a specific team in which they root for and want to succeed, fantasy games allow people to care about the performance of specific players you may have overlooked before.
Junior history and secondary education dual major, Tyler Thatcher, says that his favorite part of fantasy sports is the extra element it adds to each game. He’s been involved in fantasy leagues with his friends for eight now.
“Although Fantasy to some people is just a way to win money, to me and my friends it’s a lot more than that,” Thatcher said. “It’s an excuse for all of us to get together, it’s a reason for us to stay up until the waning moments of the Monday night football game, and it’s a way to salvage my weekend, even if my Jets lose by 40.”