Over the last decade or so, sports fans have been able to live out a fantasy. With a couple of clicks, Average Joe can now run his own team in any sport he desires.
Fantasy sports have given everyday sports fans the chance to prove that when they say, “I can run a team better than, (insert sports general manager),” they can indeed.
Many old school fans of sports have knocked fantasy sports for ruining the games. They say it encourages fans to cheer for individuals instead of teams or takes away from the joy a fan gets when their favorite team does well. But I think that is an embellishment on their behalf.
The first reason fantasy sports are supposedly bad for sports is fans would rather see a great individual performance instead of teams play well.
Since sports were created, there have been great performances by individuals on bad teams. In 1972, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton recorded 27 wins with a 1.97 ERA. That year, Carlton accounted for 46 percent of his team’s 59 wins, a modern day record. Had that season been during the time of fantasy baseball, wouldn’t it have been great for Carlton and the Phillies to have that kind of attention?
If it weren’t for fantasy sports, players that have played on perennial losers would be lost behind the Tom Bradys and Tim Duncans that play for those teams that win every year.
Guys like Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans would be forgotten. But now because of the Madden video games and fantasy football, hard luck losers now get their dues.
Another positive to fantasy sports are that outlets like ESPN start to dig for sleepers to add in fantasy leagues. This gives the unknowns the opportunity to get some attention in the mainstream.
The second point that the pride that a fan feels in a particular team is diminished may ring true. In today’s world, a lot of people say they really have no preference for teams or they give that awful answer, “I like all Chicago teams,” which really only applies to baseball.
In the earlier days of sports, everyone had a team they lived and died by. My dad is the best example I know of.
He lives and breathes White Sox baseball, always has and always will. He passed those traits on to the rest of my family.
But to counter that, people are much more knowledgeable about sports as a whole.
Over the course of my life, people have figured out how much I love sports and have told me about how they had no clue who some of the best players were in their favorite sports. But when they started playing fantasy sports, they discovered great players in other divisions or leagues they had no idea about.
Fantasy teams just add another layer to sports. They give people a chance to live out their dreams. They allow those of us without the right connections to be in control of winning something for real.
This isn’t Madden where the AI is either so good that you end up throwing six interceptions or so bad you have 60 points by the end of the first quarter.
In the end, it’s just fantasy right?
Bill Hopkins is a sophomore sports communication major from Oswego. He is the Scout sports editor.
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