University City

Women create a fantasy football league of their own

Football is primarily thought of as a man's sport.

But when a group of football-loving ladies were denied participation in a men's Fantasy Football league, they started their own.

Now four years strong, the "Ladies League" has a unique combination of competition, service and social enjoyment.

The majority of the 12 ladies in the league, between ages 28 and 31, originally met when participating in a skeeball league a few years ago. While many had attended the same college, Appalachian State, most didn't meet until living in Charlotte where they were brought together through friends and boyfriends.

"The guys we know all did their own Fantasy League, and my ex-boyfriend was always traveling so I'd set up his team for him and I was thinking, 'I'd rather just set up my own and get some credit for this,'" said Chantal Lyon, 29.

Wendi Fleener, a resident of Selwyn Farms, officially started the Ladies League four years ago.

In Fantasy Football, each member of the league chooses a certain number of players that they think will do particularly well that season. The Ladies League women each choose 16 from a variety of teams.

Every week they pick eight players they believe will do well and eight that will be benched. The ladies will get points if players make touchdowns, interceptions, and other accomplishments. There are weekly winners and a season winner.

"The guys make it much more serious and make more fun of each other," Fleener said.

"Our first year we had no idea what we were doing, but now we're pretty serious," said Hope Tester, 29.

The group has also started reaching beyond football.

On Sept. 10, the women painted hallways at KIPP Charlotte, a college preparatory middle school. During the holidays they will sponsor a family to support with gifts and food.

The women live all across Charlotte and many of the men that brought them together are no longer in their lives; but their love for football and the Panthers has kept them together.

"We're all Panther's fans," said Tester.