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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


Life, death, and fantasy football


Slider photo by Ilana Fingersh.

The Declaration of Independence famously states that the three most important parts of being an American are: life, liberty,…and winning your league in fantasy football. The students at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA), certainly embody this crucial part of the American Dream. When fall rolls around, fantasy football is all anybody can talk about. Whether it’s in the hallways, classrooms, or even during Tefillah, the students waste no time bragging about their epic teams.

Seniors Avi Velasquez and Nina Schultz fake each other intensely before their game. Photo by Ilana Fingersh.

For those in the clear minority who aren’t sure how the legendary games of fantasy football work, it’s quite simple. You join a league with friends (or really, now your enemies), draft the best players possible at each position, and then each week of the football season your team plays against another team. You watch the games with anxiety and fear, hoping your players will outperform all others. Points are totaled based on the number of yards or receptions a player has, and at the end of the day, the only goal is to completely obliterate your opponent.

Some might wonder, why is fantasy football so fun? You don’t even do anything, it’s just an app and a stupid game. But if that’s what you think, you’re sadly mistaken. Fantasy football is the epitome of being an American. Winning a close game against a sworn enemy is undeniably the best day of your life, far outshining your birth or your future wedding. The rush of adrenaline you get when your 300 pound tight end completely destroys the other teams defense can’t be compared to any other feeling on Earth (maybe the closest thing would be watching your sibling get yelled at for something you did). 

And the rivalries run deep: There have been numerous reports of HBHA boys getting into fist fights in the bathroom or ending year long friendships over a denied trade or a loss by a small margin. In a recent fantasy football week, senior Avi Velasquez went head to head with sophomore Judah Schuster. Unfortunately for Velasquez, “tragedy struck” during the Seahawks-Cardinals game. To set the scene: Velasquez was 5-1, ready to “take another dub,” when Schuster’s player began to score obscene amounts of points. Velasquez recounts the story with tears of anger in his eyes, and even issued a warning directly targeted at Schuster: “He better look out. No one dethrones the king, and I mean no one…”. As we can so clearly see from this disturbing threat, friendship turns to animosity when football season is around.

Aside from the fact that fantasy creates rivalries, full scale battles, and utter pandemonium, it leaves another group in the school struggling to make sense of the world they now find themselves in: the “non-fantasy-players,” or as they are so fondly called, the losers. They now wander through the school in a haze, not knowing who hates whom, or what “my quarterback is questionable” even means.

 “Whenever I hear people talking about fantasy football I feel utterly confused and lost,” says sophomore Aviva Clauer. It’s like they’re speaking in code, and “I don’t even get how somebody could win,” she adds with a bewildered expression. It is becoming increasingly clear that those who play fantasy rule the school, and those who don’t…well…let’s just say they might as well not show up. 

The excitement begins with the draft, and HBHA holds the world record for the most competitive and cutthroat draft of them all. For instance, the seniors recently took part in their own fantasy draft, and senior Abbie Davis remembers it with a look of terror in her eyes. As she claimed one of the best players, fellow senior Velasquez “started yelling and flipped a table over,” causing her to fear for her life, and when his favorite player was taken “he broke down in tears.” The HBHA draft’s are “not a joke at all and anyone who thinks it is is wrong,” Davis finishes before leaving to be comforted by the school’s therapy dog. 

HBHA students that participate in fantasy football are always on the lookout for stat changes. Photo by Annie Fingersh.

Fantasy football has taken on such a major role in the school that students have stopped showing up to class. Schuster is one of the main culprits of this crime (or can we even say crime, since clearly fantasy should be the priority?). He has regularly been missing classes since the season started, becoming so invested in his team that he sits on his phone for hours in the boys bathroom obsessively refreshing their stats, but according to him, it’s “a small price to pay in order to win.” Teachers should probably consider suspending all classes during football season, for the benefit of everybody.

One final word to the wise: it’s not for everybody, and if you are unprepared for a ruthless, chaotic, and relentless endeavor, you might consider taking a nice long hibernation. Otherwise, be prepared for the possibly fatal risk that comes with getting involved in the wild world of fantasy football.

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