UAHS students and staff have fun with fantasy football.
BY ELENA FERNANDEZ, ’23. GRAPHIC BY CAROLINE KEGG, ’22.
Friendships started, strengthened and even ended. This is what the fantasy football season brings upon some students yearly. Draft parties, bragging rights, winners, losers, cash prizes and last-place challenges bring back nostalgia for the fall tradition. Fantasy football was first established in 1962 when the part-owner of the Oakland Raiders, Bill Winkenbach, gathered with friends in a New York City hotel and created the first ever league, The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League or GOPPPL for short. From these roots, fantasy football has been ever-growing in popularity. According to ESPN, there were 40 million players in the United States as of Aug. 27, 2021.
The competition is formatted as follows: around 10 players draft their teams; they pick alternating randomly, giving everyone a chance to draft the most sought-after players to fill their team and bench. If one chooses to auto-pick a draft, the app will automatically draft the next best player available for the field position that they have to fill; however, this method does not guarantee success. Later in the season, players can be traded and moved on or off of the bench by the team managers depending on their skills and when they are scheduled to play.
Longtime fantasy football player and business teacher Kyle Davis began a league 16 years ago with a few high school friends. Although matured beyond high school, the 12 men who had grown up together continue to use fantasy football as a way to stay in touch; it is one of the few times a year that they get to see each other. “We organize [the draft party] usually every Labor Day weekend,” Davis said. “Our fantasy football is less about the football itself, but as we’ve gotten older and we’ve started to have kids, moved away, married, etc., it’s been our way to keep in contact with everybody.”
This year, the group held their draft party in Cleveland. In years past, they have traveled to places such as New Orleans and Deep Creek, Maryland.
Upper Arlington High School junior Anthony Blauser has been playing fantasy football with his father, Rocky Blauser
for the past five years. They participate in Rocky Blauser’s work league with his colleagues, which can inspire intense competition. The pair agree that football has built and strengthened their bond as father and son. They attend Gallo’s sports-themed taproom every Sunday to watch NFL football and anxiously check their phones for updates from their fantasy app.