Fantasy Sports in Johnston

The ESPN fantasy app is the preferred app by many fantasy users.

Jacob Kim

The ESPN fantasy app is the preferred app by many fantasy users.

Jacob Kim, Staff Writer

Professional sports have become a staple in American culture. Baseball has historically been recognized as America’s national pastime. The National Football League draws in millions upon millions of viewers every year. The National Basketball Association has recently ascended in popularity over the past decade. With as prominent as watching, following and cheering for teams in professional sports has become, the concept of someone being able to create their dream team of athletes has also come into fruition.

The rising popularity of fantasy sports has allowed for everybody and anybody to have an even more interactive experience while watching their favorite sport. Fantasy sports are, for the most part, straightforward – before a professional league’s season starts, participants in the fantasy league select their players who will be on their team and the players performance in real life will correlate with their value to a fantasy team.

For as simple as fantasy sports are, they can become fairly complex and high-stakes when money becomes involved. Because of the gambling that results from fantasy leagues, many people take the competition very seriously. Johnston is not an exception to this. There are dozens of leagues around the school, involving both educators and students, where participants pool in a large amount of money that is rewarded to the winner after the season is over.

Anonymous student A claims that they and their friends have been competing against each other in fantasy leagues since they were in middle school. “They’re a really fun way to have friendly competition with your friends,” student A said. The student even said that one of their friends, who previously had not been a fan of sports, became a fairly avid NFL fan from keeping up with the real league while tracking their fantasy players statistics.

Anonymous student B, is in the same league as student A and concurs with the idea that fantasy sports do not necessarily have to be super competitively tense or stressful. “For us, it’s honestly more about smack-talking rather than the money,” said student B. “We’ve always had kind of a different league because we’re not as in it for the money I feel like.”

While students A and B are a different league because there is less motivation for money, there is still incentive to not lose. “We usually make the loser do something pretty embarrassing,” said student B. This year, the league punishment was to wear yoga pants to school.

Fantasy sports are extremely popular among adults too. Many of Johnston’s own teachers and administrators not only compete in fantasy leagues, but have a league that squares them off with other teachers. The league consists of teachers from every wing of the building, all the way from business to science.

Dave Oldham won the teacher’s fantasy football league this past season, with the payout being 200 dollars. The chemistry teacher was victorious over others like accounting teacher Michael Barta, business teacher Rod Wiebers and history teacher Dale DeJong. Oldham felt the win to be pretty rewarding. “It was a very satisfying way to close the season,” Oldham said. “There’s a lot of trash talk that goes on between us, so being able to back that always gives you a sense of pride, even if it’s not that serious.”

Oldham, like the anonymous students, believes that fantasy sports are a great way to be competitive in a fun way. “It’s only as serious as you want it to be, which I think is the nice part about it,” Oldham said.