Pass It On: FF and Kids
Posted 8/10 by Cathy Fazio, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
There are so many things that are passed on to our kids. The color of our eyes.
The color of our hair. A love of books. Phrases and words. Loyalty to a favorite
NFL franchise. Sometimes even things we wished we did not pass on to them. An
anger streak. A touch of impatience. Phrases and words. Our children are the
recipients of the very good in us, and sometimes the bad.
If you are reading this article, that means that there is something important
to you that you may have never considered passing on to your kids. And by now
I think you know where I am going here. Why not pass on fantasy football to
I have a ten year old son. His name is Nate and he is a great kid. And over
the last three years, we have gradually introduced him to fantasy football.
Now I am not saying you have to follow my game plan here. You have to know
your child and how responsible he or she is. But this has worked well for us.
Even if you come away with one or two ideas on how you can share your love for
playing fantasy football with your own kids, that is awesome.
His first season when he was seven, we set him up on Yahoo.com in a public
league. The goal of the first year was for him to get a feel for how to play
the game. To learn what it means to maintain and upkeep a team. And for him
to get a feel for the responsibility involved in playing. It was an autodraft
league, so he did not have the pressure of participating in a draft his first
season. There are other places than Yahoo.com that you can start your child
in. Sports Illustrated for Kids has a fantasy game area. And rather than playing
adults, kids play
against other kids.
He had a lot of fun the first year, and demonstrated that he could keep up
with his own team. He faithfully made roster changes and adjustments. So the
next year, when a spot came open in a league that my brother is the commissioner
of, we were comfortable with him joining the league. Nate was thrilled. He made
up his own rankings. He had his own plan. He had listened to my husband and
I discuss and debate players and was well informed. During his first draft,
I sat next to him. I did not want to tell him how to draft, just to be a sounding
board. He would whisper to me or point to a player on his sheet that he was
considering drafting. And he did well. He drafted a better team than some of
the men in the league.
He likes trading for the sake of trading. And I am a firm believer that trading
should not be heavily commissioned because learning from bad trades is what
makes one a better fantasy football player. But I once in a while had to help
him negotiate trades; to be sure he was getting a fair deal. And to teach him
what I have learned in my years of playing. That season, he made it into the
His third season was similar to the second. He built on what he learned in
his first two seasons, and did not require any help at all during the draft.
He did not place as well that year, but did have a competitive team.
And now this year, he is going to be starting his own league with some friends.
We are keeping the league's settings as simple as possible. Because this will
be the first introduction to fantasy football for his friends. And we are setting
it up as an autodraft league as well, so as not to overwhelm them at the start.
What we have found is that it is important to have good communication with his
friends, and their parents. Letting them know what exactly is involved. We are
going to send out a letter before Nate sets up the league that will go over
what we have already verbally shared. Telling them that it is a commitment and
if it is going to fun and competitive for everyone, they will have to spend
some time every week adjusting their lineups. And we are trying to be as choosy
as possible about who is invited, we want it to be kids who will be responsible
and are excited about it and who have the backing of their parents.
There are so many great things that kids can gain from playing fantasy football.
A sense of responsibility. Reinforced math skills. Prediction skills and critical
thinking skills. Reinforced reading skills. When the Footballguys magazine came
out, Nate read it from cover to cover. And thoroughly enough to notice that
one of the names of the teams in the Draft Dominator screen shots was the name
of one my teams. And this year as a commissioner for a league of friends, he
will gain some organizational and leadership skills.
And not only that, it is the sharing of a hobby that you love with your child.
A shared interest that you play together. It gives you an opportunity to talk
with your child, engage them in conversation about something you both love.
Pass it on!
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