By Tommy Wildhack
Every Thursday night and Sunday morning, William Cardamone, College Counselor at MPH, thinks hard about who he needs to start for his fantasy football team. He studies NFL players statistics and health reports all week making sure he picks up, starts, and benches the right players. Cardamone isn’t trying to win for the sake of winning; he’s trying to win for bragging rights with his fellow MPH faculty and staff in their fantasy football league.
Since 2014, PE instructor Ryan Strader has been running a twelve-team fantasy football league that includes Mr. Don Ridall, Mrs. Nicole Demers, Mr. William O’Malley, Mr. Cardamone, and Strader himself. In addition, Strader mentioned former MPH math and economics teacher Mr. Tim Fesco is in the league, as well as some staff who work at MPH only in the summer. The league has an online snake draft, standard scoring, a 14 week regular season, and an 8 team playoff over the course of 3 weeks.
In fantasy sports, draft day is when the members of a fantasy league pick their teams. Draft day is the most important day of the fantasy season because choosing the right or wrong players can determine how good a fantasy team will be. In a snake draft, each team picks a player in order, and after each round the order flips. During each pick, teams get 90 seconds, and Strader said the later rounds are 60 seconds. Those 90 seconds are the most stressful of the fantasy season, because one bad pick in an early round could cost the season, and a steal in a late round could win the league.
Since many of the people in this league are co-workers, it is important to earn bragging rights. “The biggest rivalries are in the PE department. It’s great to have bragging rights within your own department,” said Strader. Cardamone agrees with Strader, and especially enjoys coming into school after a fantasy win against a co- worker. “Oh I love it! I go seek them out the first chance I get, [but] I try not to be too obnoxious. Well, you should hear what they have to say,” said Cardamone.
Cardamone believes he is the most competitive among the league’s members, which others acknowledge as well. When asked to name the most competitive league member, Strader said, “Mr. Cardamone, definitely him. By a mile and a half.” Over the years, Strader said some league members have come and gone, but Cardamone is zeroed-in every year. Latin teacher Will O’Malley also identified Cardamone as the league’s most competitive member. “Mr. Cardamone loves to talk sports, but he also can be very competitive,” O’Malley said. Cardamone made it clear he doesn’t like losing to co workers. “Well they’re my friends, so if they had a good week I tell them they did a good job, but I complain about it, especially when it’s close. Some people would say I whine about it.” Cardamone said. The league members at this school always enjoy a victory against each other.
The league has had a different champion every year: Strader in 2014, Ridall in 2015, Fesco in 2016, and Demers in 2017. Cardamone, who Strader referred to as a consistent top 3 team, has never won the league. When asked about this, Cardamone said, “It’s really annoying, but you could go undefeated in the regular season, and then you get bad matchups in the playoffs. I’ve lost in the finals twice and got blown out, and the problem is as the season winds down, a lot of teams that are doing well don’t play their best players for weeks 16 and 17, so your best players are on the bench during the playoffs, which really bugs me.” However, this is what almost everyone signs up for when playing fantasy football. Cardamone’s teams are similar to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, a consistently very good team that has never won the Super Bowl.
Currently, Ridall and Demers are all tied for first in the league with records of 8-3. Cardamone and O’Malley both feel this is the year they can finally win, but a lot can change in a few weeks. Injuries and players resting at the wrong time could cost someone their season. As for now, the league is still a tight race.