It’s not a fantasy


Joe Overway

The public humiliation of Joe Overway admitting to be the “lil bro” of Damian Fernandez

Joe Overway

The hair clipper turns on, as Charlie Gardner’s hair falls to the floor, the sun shining off his scalp. He has lost, not just his hair, but much worse, he has lost his Fantasy Football League. The price of that, one shaved head, and months of wearing a hat. 

   Starting in the 1960’s, Fantasy Football was created by Bill Winkenbach, the previous owner of the Oakland Raiders, now the Las Vegas Raiders. Starting as a game to help bring excitement to the NFL, Fantasy Football has turned into more than a game, due to its heartbreak, anger, punishment, reward and reunion that it brings to its players. 

   Punishments are an enormous part of the competitiveness that comes with Fantasy Football. West Ottawa has a large number of leagues, many with brutal punishments. Zeke Perez said, “We have hoppers for 100 yards if we lose. Hoppers are constant broad jumps and your legs have to get to 90 degrees.”

   Ruben Esparza said, “The punishment for our league is you get put in a dog cage. You get stuff thrown at you, nasty stuff like syrup, flour, eggs, ketchup, sardines, and spoiled foods.” The punishments bring fear into the game of Fantasy Football. Esparza said “When I lose, it really mentally damages me and makes me scared, scared of being in the dog cage.” 

   Fantasy Football is more detrimental than some think, friendships have been altered due to the competitiveness of Fantasy Football. “There is some tension between the linebackers at West Ottawa; Juan Gomez is all Hollywood, he thinks that he is too good for everyone now, due to his standings in our league,” said Perez. Arguments have broken out in the lunchroom and inside of group chat over Fantasy Football. Fighting about how people are “lucky” that they won.    

   I was disrespected by a friend to the point of no return. After a loss against Damian Fernandez, I was forced to make an Instagram post claiming to be the “lil bro” of Fernandez. Public humiliation, another way that Fantasy Football finds a way to change the meaning of a game. 

   If there are so many negative outcomes to this seemingly harmless game, then what makes people want to play every year? Perez said, “What makes me play every year is the excitement. The competitiveness Fantasy Football brings, just being able to beat your friends is a fun experience overall. It can come with anger or stress when your team under-performs, but  the positives outweigh the negatives.”