When Fantasy Football Gets Too Real


Athletic Director J.C. Wright with an old Fantasy Football trophy

Parker Lally, Writer

Fantasy football is a very popular online simulation of the real life statistics of the NFL that takes place during the football season each year. According to the ESPN website, fantasy football is where “you select your own team of players, setting a lineup every week. Then, you watch as they run, pass, catch and score touchdowns, all of which are worth fantasy points. Every week, you are matched up with someone else in your league, and whoever has the most fantasy points that week, wins!”

Dating all the way back to 1962 when the concept emerged, fantasy football has continued to soar in popularity. The idea and the way the game is played has evolved constantly over the years. It was first played by a small group of men, who kept the score on scratch paper. Once the internet was invented and more accessible, fantasy football truly skyrocketed. 

Many students and staff at Central Hardin participate in the online phenomenon, and there is definitely a range of opinions on what the game is, why they play it, and if they even enjoy it. 

Athletic director J.C. Wright is very passionate about fantasy football.

“It’s the ultimate athletic competition in the world,” Wright said. “If you’re not a part of fantasy football, you’re missing out. It’s basically a way for people to talk trash, and give money.” 

On the other hand, junior Noah Payton was not as happy to talk about his fantasy football experience,

“I was made to [play the game].I was forced.” 

No matter how seriously you take the game, at the end of the day fantasy football is a way for you to keep in touch with old friends and make new ones. 

Coach Jackson playing fantasy football on his computer.

“I do it with friends from college. It’s a way to get together every year,” football coach Tyler Jackson voiced. On the other hand, he explained that some leagues are just for money. 

Like Coach Jackson, permanent substitute Blake Wheeler plays the game to talk to friends but also to gamble money.

“It’s a way to stay in contact. There’s money involved which makes you care a little more having something on the line,” Wheeler explained. 

Assistant principal Tessa Dumbacher started playing fantasy football with her kids and even plays with their friends.

Ms. Dumbacher playing fantasy football on her phone.

“[I’ve played] since 2018 or 2017, five or six years,” Dumbacher said. “I got started doing it when Ace (her son, who is a junior) really wanted to do it but not enough friends that were old enough to understand it. My husband and I both did it. They don’t need us anymore but we still do it. I talk all sorts of mess to them.” 

Junior Matthew Stevens has done fantasy football for three years, and participates in six leagues this year.

“It’s just like something that’s lowkey, it’s not hard. It’s definitely entertaining,” Stevens said. 

Although Stevens is in six different leagues, you can do as many as you choose to. 

“Currently? I’m in 2,” Social Studies teacher Isaac Vanmeter spoke on how many leagues he is in. “It’s as many as you want to do. Some guys do four or five or six leagues. For me, it’s too much.”

There are definitely mixed feelings about the game, but Wright was not afraid to express how he feels about playing fantasy football.

“No. I LOVE fantasy football. Because I’m the best.”

Unlike Wright, Payton responded with a stern “No” when asked if he liked fantasy football.

Even if you don’t necessarily like playing the game, it’s always been a way for people to come together and agree on their interest in the game of football. 

“For me, it’s just fun.” Dumbacher said. “We love football at our house, so it’s a fun way to get involved.”