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Breaking the Stereotype: Sports

In part one of a weekly (OH GOD WHY AM I DOING THIS) look at the culture I'm surrounded by, I attempt to offer a reason to try some things you might not normally try. My first topic? Sports....

Before we begin, I'd like to clear some things up. Make no mistake about it - you're allowed to like what you like. You're not required to do anything you don't want to do. However, I feel as though there are various portions of the "nerd culture" that lead to negative results. Mostly, it involves limiting yourself in life.

I like to lead a diverse life. I have my preferred hobbies, of course, but trying new things is one of the most important parts of my life. I remember one time at work when I went from discussing playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time last year to seconds later making fun of a co-worker because the Jets had lost their game the day before. The person I was eating lunch looked at me and called me a contradiction.

Why is that? Can't sports and swords co-exist? I believe they can. You don't need to have that jock mentality to enjoy sports, just like you don't need to be a nerd to play games (including tabletop and what have you!). Here, maybe I can help equate two of the bigger sports in North America to games to make this easier.

Football (of the American variety)

Good old football. Probably the biggest sport in America these days. 16 games in the regular season (with one bye week), and then if your team is good, a few playoff games afterwards. With most of the games only played on Sunday, it's somewhat of a religious tradition for many fans. I actually attended my first game last season, and seeing those tailgaters in action is great.

Why should you, the stereotypical nerd-who-hates-sports watch it? Think of it like a strategy game. 11 men on offense, 11 on defense. Obviously, physical prowess is important, but the strategy both on the player (unit) and team level are important. Calling the right plays, choosing the right tactics - this is a very important part of the sport.

If your only exposure to the sport is through the Madden series, you probably have the wrong idea of how the game actually plays out. There are generally only a handful of games each season where a single team scores over 40 points in a single game (at least in the pro level - college is a bit of an exception). With all of the moving parts going on, the head coach has to try and create a game plan that works for his team. Games generally have high levels of excitement unless it's totally lopsided from the first snap, and since all of the games happen on the same day, you don't have to worry about trying to catch every game. 16 games! Easy.

Of course, the NFL is so big in America that the ads are endless. Any clock stoppage where they think they can throw some ads in, they will. It's unfortunate, and it does slow down the game, but it usually isn't so bad that it makes the sport unwatchable. College games aren't much better.

Not to mention, I'm sure at least one or two of you Sega kids played this classic back in the day:

Sometimes I wish I had actually owned a Genesis back then.

Ice Hockey

I'm mostly throwing this one in here for my friends up north, and the few hockey fans I know in the states. To be quite honest, I'm not the biggest hockey fan. Watching the US team take home the silver in the Winter Olympics (and acknowledging that the Canadian team should have won, and I had no issue with that) was a thrill, but I'm not sure I can equate hockey to any video game that isn't hockey related. As a kid, though, I had all of the fond times playing Ice Hockey, Blades of Steel, and the completely abuseable behind-the-net shot in NHL '94.

So what argument can I make for hockey? The one that someone made for me: the fights! Not even just the senseless violence, but so much more. Did you know that there's a site that chronicles every NHL fight, and rates them based on their set of rules? They log videos of them, and the users get to vote on who they think won the fight, or if it was a draw. That's a lot of love for something that takes those players off the ice for five minutes.

And really, when the two goalies start trading blows, oh man is that the best. Watch enough fights and you might just find yourself exploring the actual sport!


There are other sports out there, too. Maybe in a future entry I'll explore my personal love of baseball (which just started up!), or the allure of throwing a round ball into a basket. Don't worry, though - I know that too much sports at once is a scary concept on a video game website, and I am a gamer before a sports fan. Even my next entry in this will avoid sports for a time (basically until I can't think of something better to write about). Until then, though: diversify! Trying new things is pretty awesome. :)

(Also, I'd just like to give a quick thanks for the kind comments I've received on my blog to date. It's been really encouraging to help me reach some of my personal goals, which I might discuss later. I'm kind of expecting this entry to get glossed over, but hopefully I can be back into entertaining mode soon enough. You guys are awesome! :)
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About Alakaiserone of us since 1:32 PM on 03.15.2010

The name's Tom. I used to work as an industry guy, and am currently on the hunt for my next paying gig. In the meantime, I'm working on a bunch of different projects that don't help me pay my bills. I write a lot. I'm a musician, although certainly not of the professional variety. I like trying new things and meeting new people. I'm still somewhat new around Destructoid, so sorry in advance if I don't know something I probably should.

About my blog:

I update daily (not really, but I like to pretend). Generally, my updates get pretty long-winded, but hopefully not to the point where they're unreadable. I'll wax poetic about whatever's on my mind, like current events in my life, things that are happening in the video games I like, or whatever happens to pop in my head that day. With a few exceptions, I write my entries the same day I publish them, so they're pretty fresh content-wise. It also might help explain the occasional typos. I do my best to avoid any errors, though.

About my work:

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems as a tester on a year's worth of DLC, The Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band, and Rock Band Network. Feel free to ask me questions about it, but remember: I'm still under NDA. Also, if you know of a job opening, please tell me about it. I'm flexible.

About my contact info:

Want to collaborate with me on something, big or small, related to the site or not? I'd love to. I like working on any project that I'm even remotely capable of working on, and would love to help you in whatever way I can. Feel free to PM me here, or otherwise send me an email at alakaiser(at)gmail(period)com. Even if you don't want to work with me on something, I'd love to just chat. I'm a pretty friendly guy!

What happened to that thing you did? You know, that one thing?:

I wrote an article that ended up getting promoted to the front page of the site, which is pretty damn cool. It removes it from my cblog archive, though, so I'm throwing a link in this here sidebar for the sake of an archive (and in case I lose the link myself).

The Great Escape: One Foot in Reality