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Today's word on journalism

Friday, September 1, 2006

"[F]ew things are as much a part of our lives as the news. With the advent of sophisticated mass communication, the news has become a sort
of instant historical record of the pace, progress, problems, and the hopes of society. On the other hand--and here's the puzzle -- the news provides, at best, a superficial and distorted image of society. . . . The puzzle, simply put, is this: How can anything so superficial be so central to our lives?"

--W. Lance Bennett, political science professor, 1988

Fantasy sports leagues: Another Internet playground

By Matthew L. Glade

May 2, 2006 | With the the seventh pick in the first round, Steve Smith is on the board, but do I want to take a receiver this earlier? Peyton Manning is a stat machine, but will the loss of Edgerrin James in the off season hurt his numbers? Can Deuce McCallister stay healthy for the entire season or would I be better off drafting someone more durable like Shaun Alexander? Randy Moss or Chad Johnson? Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates?

Do these questions look familiar to you? If they do you are probably addicted to one of the fastest rising phenomenon in the country, taking over offices, campuses, and home computers alike, fantasy sports. If you have no idea what I'm talking about keep reading and you'll gain a little more insight into this strange new world.

Fantasy sports are games on the Internet that give participants the chance to own and manage their own team. You can join leagues on websites such as espn.com, si.com, or even websites like yahoo.com. You pick a sport, have a draft to get your players, and then manage your team for the duration of the season of the sport you are participating in.

Marques Chavez, a junior hear at Utah State says it's a great way to become involved with the sports. "Most sports fans will scream at the TV or say 'If I were in charge, I would do a better job with that team,' so this is a small taste of what it's like to be in charge of a team."

Your team scores points based on the statistical performance of the players on your team during their real game. For example, if I had Tom Brady quarterbacking my fantasy football team and he threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in his real life game, he would score me points for number of yards and touchdowns he threw for. Here is an example of a basic scoring system, but every league has different standards:

-- One point for 20 passing yards
-- One point for 10 rushing yards
-- One point for 10 receiving yards
-- Six points for a rushing or receiving touchdown
-- Three points for a passing touchdown
-- Minus one point for every interception thrown
-- Minus two points for every fumble
-- One point for an extra point kicked
-- Three points for a made field goal (with varying bonuses for long distance kicks)

Rules

In most fantasy football leagues you will go head to head with other players, but some leagues are known as rotisserie or "roto" leagues, where you are ranked according to the number of points you have.

There is a fantasy genre for every sport out there; football, basketball, baseball, even professional wrestling has a fantasy game where you draft wrestlers and score points based on if they win their match, interfere with someone else's, or hit someone with a chair.

If you want to start playing fantasy sports you should first see what real sports are in season and then according to Huu Tran, another student at Utah State, "whichever sport you enjoy best would be the easiest to start because you would understand it better."

Even students who aren't involved with fantasy sports can see the benefits. Jared Sagers, another student at Utah State, has never joined a league but can see why fans do it. "I think it offers an avid sports nut a chance to get more involved in the league, because it's like you own a team and you root for players to score big and you hope other players your buddy has on his team don't do well. So it adds another level of sports enjoyment."

Users must beware because fantasy sports can eat up a lot of time and become very addictive. As a student it can it can be very tempting to put off homework to devise the perfect trade for the player you are lacking. But, as with all things, it's about time management Huu said. "So as long as students balance correctly, it's relaxing and fun and a good way to relieve stress."

So if you seem intrigued by this new time consumer, I'll see you out in the fantasy world; but don't think for one minute my team, the "Angus Vancmans," is going to take it easy on you.

NW
MS

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