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More than just a fake sport
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor
Johnnie Phillips, editor, sports, Steele County Times

Easily one of my favorite parts about the fall sports season is that with the return of the NFL comes my favorite pastime of all: fantasy football.

As a washed-up athlete and someone who is building a career around sports, fantasy football allows me the opportunity to feel almost like a part of the games that I dreamed of playing in when I was a kid.

Each year I approach my multiple fantasy football drafts with the same vigor and excitement, somewhat due to the fact that the leagues that I play in with my friends are cash leagues, but also because I am competitive and hate losing.

With football being my bread and butter, I like to come into every fantasy season with the thought that I have an edge over my opponents who fancy themselves more as couch coaches.

This is why when my teams start losing I become all the more invested and equally as enraged with myself.

In fact, in my house league with my friends that I lived with in college, I am currently in second-to-last place right above my old teammate and the only other former football player in our league – ouch.

Yet, despite the disappointment of realizing I’m a poor general manager of my fake football team, I will say that fantasy football is a great way for those who love the sport and have a competitive flare in them to grow even more invested in the NFL’s slate of games.

On the flip side of losing, winning in fantasy football is easily one of the most fun things about the game other than what I love most: The fact that I can be invested in every game over the course of the week instead of just when the Vikings play.

Setting a lineup and watching your team outperform an opponent is borderline intoxicating, especially when you know that those wins bring you one step closer to a potential payday that could add up to a rent payment.

But even more than the thrill of victory is another aspect of fantasy football that keeps me coming back year after year.

The time I get to spend talking football with my closest friends – whether it be making trades, talking ball or even talking trash – is some of my favorite moments of the week.

As friends move all around the country on their own adventures, fantasy football has kept us all actively talking through the years.

In fact, this season I actually just joined a league with some former high school teammates of mine – most of whom I haven’t talked to in almost a decade.

For those who do not take part in fantasy sports already, I highly recommend doing so if you love the game as I do.

It may become a borderline obsession as it is in my case, but it could also be a perfect way of reconnecting with old pals and a way to give you a little more reason to tune into your favorite sport.

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