There are many things in this life I don’t understand: trigonometry and calculus for starters; the combustion engine; how somebody, sometime, managed to convince the world that blue is blue, and not in fact, say, yellow; and why people feel compelled to display photographs of their breakfast on Facebook.
I’m not a complete philistine, though. I do try. As I’ve grown older, I can grudgingly appreciate why The Beatles were so popular. And probably still are.
Now that I’ve reached the more mellow years of my life, I feel I should have even a basic understanding of cricket, and I’d like to develop at least a tolerance of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ TV programme. Goodness knows, I have to suffer it often enough.
And it’s television that has today piqued my ire. Even allowing for the twin, in-built safety valves of incredulity and moaning, my grumpiness levels rose to a dangerous high when flicking through the sports channels, and landing on one screening some ‘eSports’ competition.
eSports? That’s what we used to rather quaintly call ‘video games.’ On a sports channel!
The Oxford English dictionary defines the word ‘sports’ as being:’ an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.’
Note, if you will, the use of the words ‘physical exertion.’ It’s all relative, I know, but even the most unfit specimen would struggle to justify twiddling the knobs on a games-controller as too much of an effort. Maybe if using both hands?
Nah. This is no more a ‘sport,’ than big game hunting. Although – give the elephant / lion / meerkat an AK47 or Uzi, then I might be a bit more receptive to the competitive aspect of that one.
This particular televised match-up was between two teams battling with their dragons and elf-type beings to … to … you know, I really have no idea. It must have been pretty important and exciting though, as the commentator sounded like he needed a change of underwear.
Not only was there a commentator, there was a panel of experts, offering analysis and dissecting the strategies being displayed. I struggle with the relevance of this even during a proper, live game of football, for goodness sake.
At the conclusion, the two teams of misshapen geeks lined up to shake hands in true sporting fashion. The vanquished, with their petted lips and teary eyes, looked like they’d been sent to their rooms without any tea.
A few weeks ago, I also noticed the live screening, ‘streaming’ I think the word is nowadays, of a football computer game. I didn’t hang about. But I now know this was the FIFA eWorld Cup tournament!
Apparently twenty million gamers entered, hoping to make it to the Finals. In the real world, Scotland haven’t been able to qualify from a group of four, since 1998, so it’s unlikely my country was represented.
But what truly amazed me is that there were apparently twenty-nine million views across three-days of competition on its online platforms. Nineteen national broadcasters also provided coverage.
And the superstars of the gaming world (yup, there are such people) can make thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, apparently.
Hindsight is a great thing. Foresight, even better.
Had I a glimpse of the future as a youth, back in the Seventies, I wouldn’t have squandered my time on athletics and football training. I’d have applied myself more diligently to the study and practice of the Galaxian video game at The Peel public house in Drumchapel, Glasgow.
Perhaps by now, I could have been a contender.