Girls love fantasy football too

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Girls love fantasy football too

Elenie González, Contributor

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Fall is just around the corner, and for many, it means a variety of things. While some are anxiously waiting for Halloween or the return of the pumpkin spice latte, others like myself are ready for the NFL to officially kick off.

Not that I don’t enjoy watching college football or even high school football, but I have always preferred the NFL. It was just the way my father raised me.

For years now, I have heard talk about fantasy sports and fantasy football in particular. I would hear about it while watching Sports Center or read about it on social media, and of course, all the guys around me would rave about how well their team was doing or talk about a trade they wanted to make. But I never quite understood what was so fascinating about a made-up team. That is, until I decided to give it a try.

Now I am hooked.

This will be my fifth year playing fantasy football and it is not because I wanted to “be like the guys.” I’m a girl who loves football, and now I’m a girl who loves fantasy football too. And I’m not the only one who has said the same thing, my friends also have the same sentiment.

My first year playing fantasy football I participated in two leagues, one of which was an established league filled with seasoned vets. This inspired me to create an all-female league, so I recruited several of my football-loving female friends, some of which had already played before. The all-female league was a success and it’s still going strong.

Learning how to play fantasy football and creating my own fantasy team has made watching football that much better, and it was much easier to learn how to play than I initially thought.

Why do I love it so much?

It gave me a deeper understanding about the game itself. It also gave me the chance to really learn about players as individuals, not as just another player on a team.

Before I started playing, I would only pay attention to my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, and what was happening inside the organization. But now I pay attention to teams and players I didn’t care about before.

I used to only watch games when the Cowboys were playing, but now I make sure to watch other games as well, and not just those on Sunday and Monday nights.

It takes dedication if you want to make sure your fantasy team does well, so it’s fun to watch several games and check how well your team is doing throughout game day to assure you put out your best lineup for the week.

Another cool aspect of playing fantasy football is the fun and creative team names players come up with. Pop culture usually has a big influence on the names, and players like to incorporate it with figurative language. One of my favorites last year was “Better Call Jamaal,” an homage to the hit AMC show “Better Call Saul.” The name Jamaal is in reference to Jamaal Charles, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs last year and is now with the Denver Broncos.

ESPN, a popular site used to play, has a policy that bans players whose team names are vulgar. 

One of my favorite fantasy football events I look forward to each year are the draft parties, where food and drinks are plentiful. Not every league has a party, but it is something that helps build excitement among the players for football season.

Money is also what draws people to play fantasy football as large prizes are frequently up for grabs. Most leagues have buy-ins that range from small amounts of $20 to as much as $100 to join. Depending on the rules set by each league, the winner may take all, or the winnings can be split. Fortunately, I have won some money in my few years of playing.

Prizes also include trophies given to the winner. I’ve seen leagues use a variety of trophies from plaques to rings to wrestling belts.

Sometimes leagues also like to punish the worst player of the year.

So far, I have continued my streak of going to the championship each year in my all-female league, although I have never won the big prize. I haven’t had as much luck in other leagues, but I take pride in my team having made it to the playoffs, so luckily no punishment for me. Some might call it beginner’s luck, but each year I continue to learn how to be a better player and build my legacy.

This year I was invited to join a well-established league by a friend who wanted a girl to participate in the friendly competition. Of course, I said yes—I never turn down a challenge.

It is possible they may just want someone they believe is easy to beat, but I’ll suppose otherwise.

I’m not going to lie though, that made me feel pretty good about my capabilities, and I’m confident in my ability to go all the way to the top this year. My teams are set and I am anxious for week one to begin.

If you’re playing this year, all I have to say is, may the best man or woman win.