When I talk about my Fantasy Gymnastics team, I am usually met with reactions of raised eyebrows and exclamations of, "is that a real thing?". Yes, it's a real thing. CollegeFantasyGymnastics.com is the first website of its kind that applies the concept of "fantasy" sports teams to collegiate gymnastics. Let's face it: gymnastics isn't a sport like football or basketball whose fanbase transcends gender, race, religion, locality and socioeconomic status. It doesn't have its own night dedicated to it on television. It really only finds itself in everyone's living room and at the center of everyone's attention once every four years during the Olympics. With fewer than 100 collegiate gymnastics programs nationwide, it's not exactly the most closely followed or hyped collegiate sport. So to me, the creation of this website is a big deal. It connects us fans to our favorite gymnasts, helps us to discover new favorites, and gives us a sense of pride and ownership.
So how does it work? Before the season started, you could sign up for a free account. From there, you could "draft" up to 150 college gymnasts. Out of those on your draft, you are randomly given 20 to make up your team. All users are divided into conferences. Each week, you have to submit your lineup on each event (vault, bars, beam, and floor). You can choose up to 8 gymnasts per event. Out of those 8, the top 5 scores count towards your final score. The scores are real and come from the meets your gymnasts compete in that week. The catch is knowing who is going to compete, determining the best and most consistent on each event, and maximizing scoring potential.
I've really enjoyed playing this year, and I have grown to be very competitive. I am so competitive that I have cemented my spot as 1st place in my conference for the past four weeks in a row. I derive a lot of pride from my team. As strange (and maybe slightly nerdy) as it sounds, I feel like they are my team. I celebrate with their victories and shake my fists at the sky with their failures. Like any real college gymnastics coach, I plot, strategize, and make difficult lineup decisions. Like any real college gymnastics coach, I am constantly thinking about how I can make my team better.
So who are the key players on my team?
Meet the rest of my team...
Fantasy Gymnastics is just that: a fantasy; something intangible and illusory. It may not be totally real, but it's real to the players. It allows us to live vicariously through the athletes and experience life as a coach in a virtual reality college gymnastics world.
I'll spend my free time this weekend monitering all my gymnasts scores and ferociously editing my spreadsheets as I look to defend my #1 spot in my conference. Go team!
Peace, love, and gymnastics,
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
About the Author
Coach Sarah is a former Rhode Island College gymnast, NCGA National qualifier, All-American, current gymnastics coach and judge, and contributor for the gymnastics news source, The Gymternet. Find out what's going on at Spectrum and learn more about the incredible sport of gymnastics!