Area residents make sports connections with fantasy football

By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer

Clovis resident Dan Booth was at the Cowboys-Eagles Monday night football game Sept. 14 at Texas Stadium. Booth is a die-hard Cowboys fan who wanted the Cowboys to win the game — but he also wanted Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook to have a big game.

Such a scenario faces millions worldwide, including several people in Roosevelt and Curry County.

Like many others, Booth plays fantasy football — a game that puts an ordinary person in charge of a virtual team made up of real NFL players.

The fantasy football owner’s team earns points every week based on the player’s actual performance on the football field. Several teams make up a league, and the fantasy teams play each other every week.

The fantasy season usually begins with a live draft, in which team owners take turns picking NFL players to build their team.

“I’d say I’m fairly good,” Booth said. “Last year I made it to the last game of the season but lost in the championship.”

Which leads us back to Booth’s dilemma: Rooting for the Cowboys, while wanting Westbrook to score.

“As long as (the Eagles) didn’t win, I was hoping that he did all their scoring,” Booth said. “You kind of have mixed emotions — it’s tough.”

Booth is involved with two fantasy football teams and is the commissioner of one of the leagues.

“My league is more just a friendly league. A lot of co-workers and stuff like that,” Booth said. But his other league is a bit more competitive.

“There’s money involved in that one, so it’s a little more competitive,” Booth said.

Booth selected Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the first round of one of his drafts, and picked up longtime Packers signal caller Brett Favre, now with the New York Jets.

“I gave him a try,” Booth said. “He’s doing pretty good.”

According to Booth, getting involved with fantasy football also builds more interest in a number of different games.

“(It) just keeps you interactive with other games that are going on. It kind of gives you an ownership feeling, you know: This is my team that I put together,” Booth said. “I’m always watching scoreboards and across the bottom to see who’s scoring points. It definitely keeps you involved.”

Portales resident, and fantasy football fanatic Dewayne Grenko agrees.

“Even though your players don’t do well, Grenko continued, “It gets you really into the game because you want them to do well. So it increases your interest in watching the game on TV.”

According to Grenko, trash talking is also a key factor in having fun with fantasy football.

“(Trash talking) happens,” Grenko said. “It’s just friendly.”

While nationwide numbers are difficult to pin down, some estimates have between 15 million and 20 million Americans playing fantasy sports, which includes football, basketball, baseball, hockey and other sports.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Grenko said. “Especially when you win.”