Bay Area Fil-Ams get hyped over NFL fantasy football season

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 3, 2014

HAYWARD, Calif. – A group of 20 Filipino-American friends have gathered in a garage in Hayward, Calif. to participate in their eighth annual season of fantasy football.

Fantasy football is an online competition where players act as general managers of virtual football teams built from selecting or “drafting” real NFL players.

Their teams obtain points through the weekly performances of their selected NFL players.

“Fantasy football just makes it a lot more fun to follow football,” said Anthony Carrera. “You get more involved because you’re cheering for more players, you’re paying a lot more close attention throughout the week because you’re following who’s injured, who’s doing well.”

Fantasy football has become an American phenomenon and according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association they estimated 28 million people were playing last year.

Participants say the “draft” is the most exciting part of the game because it not only kicks off the season but for these friends it gives them an opportunity to get together.

“It’s all about the brotherhood, having food, having a good time, talking football,” said Bryan Oliva. “It’s one of the best days of the year. That’s why we call it “draftmas”.

Participants take the game seriously by doing their research to choose players wisely.

“I don’t know about these guys, but I put in a lot of time into reading anything that’s out there: articles, magazines, newspapers, whatever it may be,” said Oliva.

Even though the wives and girlfriends in this fantasy football group do not join the game, they say they still enjoy the chance to be together.

“It’s an event we look forward to annually, and with our hectic schedules it’s hard for us together, so this is definitely an event we look forward to,” said Jackie Simbulan.

Another reason why fantasy football has become so popular is due to the different prizes one can win at the end of the season. This group says that their prizes consist of an undisclosed monetary amount and a much coveted trophy that has the winner’s name engraved on it.

For this group, the trophy ensures bragging rights for as long as they remain friends.

“It’s the one thing we can all compare ourselves to on who’s better and winning it. If people make fun of you, just bring up the trophy – they be quiet,” said current champion Ruel Mendoza. “It’s been pretty sweet.”

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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