'I had no idea': What this fantasy football loser's 30 days of TikTok dancing fame was like

Sporting a Chicago Bears hoodie, Cade McHenry drove to Halas Hall on Thursday for a personal tour of the team's headquarters.

It's been that kind of month for the 22-year-old North Central College student.

McHenry was supposed to be punished by his friends for finishing last in their fantasy football league. Instead, the Winfield native is enjoying an unexpected burst of fame thanks to 30 days of TikTok videos featuring his dance moves.

Hundreds of thousands of views later, McHenry's life has become a whirlwind.

He and his mom, Kristen, recently returned from a trip to New York and an appearance on "Good Morning America" for his final dance. During the show, he received an invitation from the Bears for a VIP trip to training camp this summer and a year's supply of Gatorade.

He's also received swag packages from Jimmy John's, American Eagle and others. His dances have appeared on ESPN and attracted responses from NFL players such as Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who sent McHenry a video message apologizing for not helping his fantasy football team after getting injured.

Every day - including Thursday's surprise trip to Lake Forest with his dad, Jeff - brings something new and exciting.

"I had no idea something like this would occur," McHenry said. "It's been insane."

Perhaps the most surprising thing for McHenry, a West Chicago High School graduate, was the way his fantasy football team bottomed out after he advanced to the title game the previous two years. After finishing the regular season 3-11 and losing all three playoff games, he had to face the embarrassing music from the other team owners.

At first, the punishment was to get 10,000 likes on a TikTok video. He accomplished that in three days, prompting his friends to get more creative.

For 30 straight days, they decided, McHenry had to post a TikTok video of him dancing.

A football and baseball player during his days at West Chicago, choreography isn't exactly his specialty. Inspiration for the 30 dances came from social media followers sharing moves with him.

"I agreed that the punishment had to be worse," McHenry said. "The 30 days was fine because I knew I'd have an end point and wouldn't have to worry about it anymore."

But something interesting happened on the way to the end point.

On the eighth day, the number of views exploded. So did the attention.

A junior marketing and sport management major at North Central in Naperville, McHenry even had to ask professors if he could reschedule exams from this week to next to accommodate his suddenly busy schedule. He said everyone's been understanding, although he's wondering what the reaction will be on campus when he returns to classes.

"I was staying anonymous for a little while, but then more people started recognizing me," he said. "Word spreads pretty quick there."

McHenry said he's taking a short break from TikTok, but he'll get back to it soon. He's thinking about posting blooper videos from the month of dancing and maybe some weightlifting videos, which is more in his wheelhouse.

Whether he likes it or not, though, the moves will remain.

"It's definitely a big window open," he said. "There's a lot of things still going on with it, so we'll figure it out.

"No matter what I do, I know it'll have to involve dancing."

Cade McHenry, a 22-year-old Winfield native and West Chicago High School graduate, appeared on Good Morning America with his mother Kristen, right, and host Robin Roberts, center, after punishment for a last-place finish in his fantasy football league resulted in TikTok fame because of his dance videos. Courtesy of Cade McHenry
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