Losers forced to endure unique punishment in fantasy football league

Matthew Smith | Staff Writer

 Rise and shine, it’s fantasy time.

Fantasy football is a game where you form a “league” with other people and draft real National Football League (NFL) players onto your team. Every week when the NFL games take place, your players’ real-life performances give your fantasy team points. 

Week after week you go head to head against someone else in the league, and at the end of the year, a tournament decides who wins it all and who finishes last. Fantasy football may be just a game, but in the past few years, it has taken the sports world by storm. 

Junior Evan Schmulewitz said that there are a lot of new fantasy players this year at the high school, and for him, it has become a great way to connect with and compete against his friends. 

“I really enjoy fantasy football because it brings me closer to my guys,” Schmulewitz said. “Everyday we talk about how our team is doing or how we are going to beat each other, and I love it. It brings out my competitive side.”

With its growing popularity, fantasy players now have a bigger reason to watch football every Sunday. Fantasy has brought a whole new meaning to professional football, and junior Brysen King said that the main reason he even watches the NFL is because of fantasy football. 

“Sometimes I like to watch football, but fantasy (football) is the biggest reason I like to watch all the games on Sundays,” King said. It gives me a specific player or team to cheer for, so I have a more personal reason to watch the games.”

Fantasy football has been around since the 1960s, but the recent incorporation of punishments has added a new dynamic for fantasy players. King said that penalizing the loser in his league has created a new excitement for the game and raises the stakes of competing.

“I think that including punishments in our league makes playing fantasy (football) even riskier,” King said. “We added punishments last year, and even though I got last, everyone was way more into it and that made it really fun.” 

The word punishment never has a positive connotation, but at the end of the day, many leagues just see it as part of the fun of playing fantasy football. King said that although no one desires to be disciplined by the league, it’s always safe and agreed upon.

“Everyone in our league views the punishment as one of the best parts of fantasy football, but it’s all for fun,” King said. “Before the season even begins everyone agrees on what our punishment, and we make sure it is something everyone can handle. In the end the punishment is just supposed to be really enjoyable for everyone.”

Creating new and original punishments has also allowed for creativity within leagues and their players. Schmulewitz said that a lot of thought goes into creating the perfect consequence, and it is a huge event within the league. 

“When we come up with our punishment, it’s a long process,” Schmulewitz said. “We all discuss ideas we have and do a lot of research on what the right punishment is. We combine ideas and do whatever we need to do. Other than the draft, coming up with our punishment is the biggest event before the season starts.”

For Brysen King, losing last year has fueled motivation for this season. King said that he will be much more cautious this year after he struggled with the Blazin Challenge. 

“Last year I had to do the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin Challenge,” King said. “You have to eat 12 wings with the hottest sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings, all in 6 minutes. My mouth was on fire for the next three days. Since I had to do that, all I want this year is to avoid last place.”

A new season means new retributions. For Schmulewitz, he said that he is really excited about this year’s punishment in his league, but he hopes he isn’t the one who has to experience it.

“The punishment for this season is the loser has to dye their hair pink for two weeks,” Schmulewitz said. “We talked about this for weeks, and I really can’t wait to see someone with their hair pink. If it’s me though, that would be terrible. I don’t even want to think about that.”well.”

Much like how other collegiate sports teams scout for High Schools to give offers to for their programs, MSJ is reaching out to high schoolers in particular in order to popularize Esports and their team as a whole.

“High school students will help make this program grow and become known,” David said. “We want this opportunity to be known in Cincinnati, and it starts with students who are interested and want to compete in Esports.”

Photos by Henri Robbins and Matthew Smith.