It can be a struggle being a curmudgeon, but sometimes they make it awfully easy for me. Take for example the “news” story I recently read which implied that there was some consideration for making gaming an Olympic sport. To clarify, the term “gaming” does not refer to the games which already award medals to the best players/teams in a given sport. Sports such as handball, synchronized swimming and curling are already well established Olympic fare.
The gaming to which the article refers is the video form. In fairness, I should disclose that the “article” to which I am referring is barely more than click bait in its depth and quality. I scanned through two or three paragraphs worth. Someone from the gaming community was going to meet with someone from the Olympic community to talk about the possibility of gaming being recognized as an Olympic sport. It’s possible that this whole subject has been inflated just to rile up old coots like me.
As a kid, I looked up to my Olympic heroes. American athletes went up against villains with consonant-laden names from places like the Soviet Union and East Germany. They played sports that most of us only saw once every four years. Those two countries don’t even exist anymore and one of our old Olympic idols has recently gotten breast implants, a reality show and changed his name to Caitlyn. Excuse me if I get a little pissy that the Olympics may soon be giving out medals for having the high score for Donkey Kong.
Proponents of video games will contend that world champions have incredibly fast reflexes and dexterity. I don’t mean to brag, but I manage to guzzle 20 ounces of steaming coffee every morning, often while behind the wheel in New Jersey commuter traffic. I seldom spill (much of) it on my shirt. While I humbly admit that my reflexes and dexterity must be pretty damn good, I don’t need an award. Going through my workday without a giant brown stain down the front of my shirt is satisfaction enough.
The possibilities raise more questions than answers:
- Will there eventually come a day when actual Olympic sports are replaced by their virtual counterparts?
- How many times have we heard commentators remark about changing conditions on a ski slope or had asterisks next to finishing times because it was wind aided?
- When was the last time you heard someone complain about divots on Wii Golf?
- Will the perfection of the digital arenas take the place of the faulty state of the real world?
- What’s the point of these questions?
- How long will it take before the Uzbekistan team gets exposed for using cheat codes during their historic bronze medal performance in the “Grand Theft Auto – Chump City” consolation match against a tough Netherlands squad?
Perhaps the day will even come when it’s a novelty for athletes to compete on actual grass in actual weather in actual sports. Old farts like me will be long gone by then of course. I hope someone digs this gem out from the bowels of the internet and I get the credit I deserve for this spiffy bit of predicting. No need for a parade or anything, though a posthumous medal would be nice.