Face Sport, Gaming, and Community in Fantasy Football – Berkeley High Jacket


According to YouGovAmerica, every Sunday during the football season, 37% of the American population watches football, of which 17% participate in the game of fantasy football.

Essentially, fantasy football is a math-based game in which various teams compete against each other alongside real football. Each person chooses their players and acts as the manager of their own team. They earn points for stats like yards, touchdowns, and field goals. At the end of the week, these stats are counted and the team with the most points wins. These points are added each week until the final championship.

While competition is an important part of fantasy football, it’s also about building community. Participating in a league, whether it is made up of complete strangers or close friends, is a way to immerse yourself in a sport, and to be part of a unique culture founded on the love of football.

Casey Alper, a junior at Berkeley High School (BHS) at Academic Choice (AC), described fantasy football as not only a way to compete with friends, but also a chance to bond with them outside of the school. “I like to beat all of my friends, but the real reason I compete is that I can hang out and have fun with them,” said Alper. Due to the size of BHS, it can be difficult to find new groups of friends. Fantasy football has the particularity of allowing people to come together around their passion for the sport and to create new relationships. For Alper, fantasy football is a way of fostering community around mutual benefit.

Liam Marder, a former BHS student and former quarterback for the BHS football team, has acknowledged that fantasy football allows him to engage in football in a whole new way. “Fantasy football creates a unique way to bond with people by creating a platform for competition and engagement,” said Marder. He was also commissioner of a fantasy football league for several years; the league is made up of four other recent BHS alumni and their fathers.

Marder explained his role as commissioner as “someone who organizes certain events such as the draft and the Superbowl party”. Marder explained that “leaving for college is going to strain my relationships with my friends. Keeping the fantasy football league alive will help bond us together, even when we are thousands of miles apart. For Marder, fantasy football has helped his community stand the test of time and physical distance.

Marder is not unique. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world united by a common interest come together each year to participate in fantasy football. Bridging distances, generation gaps and origins, this unique hobby provides a space in which everyone feels welcome.

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