Where Loyalty Lies

My wife and I have been busy these past two months and it’s been hard to find time to spend together. Sundays are the exception, however.

Every Sunday, we watch football at a bar in Gilbert. While I am primarily following my hometown team’s game, I constantly glance around at the other TVs in the bar to check my fantasy players. So inevitably, I find myself exerting certain emotions that are usually reserved strictly for my team, the Chicago Bears. So the query: Who gets the love? My lifelong favorite team or my fantasy team?

According to a study by two journalism professors, Lee K. Farquhar and Robert Meeds, many fantasy sports players use fantasy sports to further engage in real sports.

“Fantasy sports have made my interest in real-world sports grow,” one subset of fantasy players said.

Does this create a monster? As ESPN radio announcer Colin Cowherd said in a previous post, “fantasy guy” focuses too much on the individual player and loses sight of the sport in general.

In fact, a lot of “fantasy guys” refuse to limit their fan support to just one real team. Fantasy Guy X likes the New York Giants because he has Eli Manning, but he also likes the Philadelphia Eagles because he has Desean Jackson; furthermore, he loves the St. Louis Rams because he has Steven Jackson. But this guy can be pretty frustrating to sit next to at a bar because you can’t seem to understand his motivations.  If he’s wearing a New York Giants jersey, you can talk all the smack you want when your team is beating the Giants. But if he just cheers for Manning because Manning’s on his fantasy team, then you might cheer against him when Eli Manning throws an interception, but then he’ll tell you that he’s got the opposing defense and you’re left dumbfounded!

Which brings me back to my wife and me at the bar every Sunday. My wife, a “casual football fan” at best, tries her hardest to devote herself every week to an emotionally draining Chicago Bears team. It’s hard enough to keep up with that roller-coaster.

She just can’t seem to handle the added stress of my despair when Maurice Jones-Drew stops at the goal-line (he apologized to his fantasy owners), thereby losing my fantasy team a much-needed touchdown.

It’s different for each individual, but some fantasy owners cheer for their fantasy team over their real life team and vice versa. For me, Bears first. Fantasy second.



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