I’ve been on a fantasy football team with my dad for as long as I can remember.  Of course, I wasn’t exactly making decisions about the team when I was seven, but I’ve always looked forward to draft day, if only because I got to stay up past my bedtime. Now that I’m older, Sundays at home consist of my dad and me flipping through the various games, from the first 1:00 kickoff to the end of the final fourth quarter.  

I don’t root for a particular professional team, but I pay attention to NFL games every week because I care about my fantasy team winning, and I’m not the only one. People care about things they have a personal connection to, and sports are no different.

“Oh, it’s so fun,” senior Charlie Krakauer said about fantasy football. “I hate that it determines my entire mood for my week, based on my little imaginary players.” Having a personal investment in the outcome of games leads to caring about the games more.

In fantasy football, your team’s points come from the points scored by players in their games. If your running back carries the ball for 73 yards, in most leagues your team would get 7.3 points. Because fantasy teams are made up of players on all different teams, in order to know what’s happening you have to flip through multiple games. You have a reason to care about more than just the main team you support.

“It makes football more enjoyable to watch,”  senior Ben Noe said. “You have your favorite team, but once you have your fantasy team, you’re rooting for tons of different players on different teams, for every fantasy sport.”

More than just investment in games, fantasy sports help you maintain connections with those whom you might otherwise lose contact.  

“For years I did a fantasy football league with my camp friends, we would play fantasy football during the year, and it would give us a good reason to stay in touch,” first-year Abe Lovich said.  

Fantasy leagues allow people to connect through competition. Many have punishments for the loser, which make you stay involved to avoid them. Of course, the reward of rubbing a win in your friends’ faces is often enough to motivate anyone to try to win.

Having players to root for gives you a stake in more games, helps you stay in contact with friends, and as a fun bonus, creates the opportunity to lovingly trash talk friends and family. Fantasy sports — and the investment they motivate within a viewer — are an easy way to make watching games meaningful. 

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