Back when I was in elementary school, we used to play paper football. It didn't resemble actual football whatsoever, but we didn't care because it was called football and we loved football.
Too bad we didn't have fantasy football -- and a guy like NFL chief marketing officer Mark Waller -- back then. Waller is trying to convince schools to include fantasy football as part of the curriculum.
Here's what he told the Wall Street Journal while discussing the league's efforts to reach the next generation of fans:
"We want to make sure that at the younger age, there’s a format for fantasy and a way to play that will allow you to engage. But also use it educationally. It’s a complex game, fantasy. You should be able to learn a lot, particularly around math. How many points do I need? How many points does this player get? We’re also trying to work with groups to get the concept of fantasy based into the curriculum of elementary schools. If you love football and you teach them math through football, the chances are you may teach them better math and more quickly."
OK, so the idea of a multibillion-dollar corporation getting it's clutches on our kids through the school system is a bit scary. But if kids today are as obsessed with football as we were, maybe some version of fantasy football that really does require mathematical skills (rather than relying on the computer to calculate everything) might not be a bad idea.
Makes a lot more sense than flicking a folded piece of paper back and forth on a table.