What’s your game?

In most fantasy leagues, you get a nifty crown as your prize./ Spencer Reid

In most fantasy leagues, you get a nifty crown as your prize./ Spencer Reid

Fantasy sports. Real players. Real stress.

Author: suzanne barber – sports writer

What is all the hype about? It’s just fantasy

Fantasy leagues are becoming a huge part of professional sports. Avid baseball, NHL, NFL and even cricket fans can all get more involved in the sports they love. Now, anyone can create their very own team with the best players in the league and compete against friends, coworkers and, really, whoever they want.

I have always been rather intimidated by these fantasy leagues. Not only did they seem complicated, they seemed to require a limitless knowledge of players and teams. What’s more, the knowledge required used different metrics – some of the best players in a league don’t make the best fantasy players.

This year, I decided to give fantasy football a try and “own” two teams. I finally understand what all the hype is about. Here’s why:

  1. I love smack talk

The people I compete against are a mixed bag. From 9-year-old cousins, to acquaintances, to best friends. Every week, I get to root for the underdog, heckle opposing quarterbacks and follow every upset.

  1. Every game matters

Points are not based on wins and losses, but on player performance. As such, every game that your player is in matters. In the past, there are some games I would pay little attention to. Not anymore.

  1. It’s easy

I use two different apps, Yahoo and NFL Fantasy, and both are awesome. I can change my line up as soon as I get news on a questionable player, check the standings, and sync my team to other apps to get in-depth information. Oh yeah, and I can smack talk.

  1. You start to feel like an expert

You’re managing an all-star team and you plan on winning the Fantasy Super Bowl… You know your shit.

  1. It’s insanely fun

Now that I have experienced fantasy football, I really don’t think I’ll be able to go another season without a team. I love Sundays like kids love sprinkles.

I am in the camp that really enjoys fantasy sports (fantasy football, anyway), but what about other U of R students? I asked a handful of people to find out who was in my camp and who wasn’t. As it turns out, everyone I talked to that owned a team was hooked.

“I have owned a team for eight years. It lets me fulfill my fantasies of being a GM. I can prove to all my friends that I know more than they do about football.” Clarke Westby said.

I also spoke to a few first-time owners that don’t fit the stereotypical owner profile. Maura Camplin is a lawyer and busy mother of three.

“I totally misunderstood how it worked. I thought you accumulated points all season and then whoever had the most points won. I like it, and now that I understand it, I’m thinking of giving fantasy basketball a try.” she said.

Personally, I am definitely a latecomer to the game, however. Fantasy sports are big business and require a trade association known as the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. The FSTA has been serving the industry for over 15 years, representing nearly 200 member companies. The fantasy sports market, in North America alone, is estimated to be over 40 million people.

If you’re like me, and are intimidated by fantasy sports, I recommend you give it a try. There is a reason it attracts so many people every season and I wish I had been in on the action much earlier. Don’t make the same mistake. If you’re on the fence, pull the trigger.

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