Daily Archives: August 13, 2008

Video Gaming as an Olympic Sport

You think that’s a joke, don’t you? Well CBC’s The Current interviewed Johnathan Wendel today, a champion PC gamer who is campaigning to get video gaming as an Olympic Sport.

I’m sure there are many eyes a’rollin’ out there. But he argues that professional and champion gamers these days are fit and not eyeglass wearing, out of shape, pimple faced geeks. He runs and does sit-ups and his hand-eye coordination and trigger finger must be fast and accurate. As well, he must work out strategies to gain on his opponent or to be able to psych them out.

O…kay. So there is some activity with the eyes and the mouse finger and maybe spinning quickly around in your chair to answer the phone or grab a health drink while shooting down your opponent. But I know some gamers, adults, and I have to say they fit the stereotype of eyeglass wearing and out of shape. They’re past the pimple faced stage but I’m sure they imbibe their share of pop and chips. However, I also know at least one person who’s as likely to have Fillet Mignon and burgundy wine while gaming, and he has a doctorate in computer graphics.

I’m aware that there are more than the stereotypical video gamers out there and that to compete for any length of time in anything, be it word games or running, you have to keep in shape. This means eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and exercise. But Olympic level? Mr. Wendell argues that there is as much activity as someone who is skeet shooting. Fair enough, but one thing the Olympics have in all sports and that’s actual physical movement that amounts to more than a shift of the eye or a twitch of the mouse finger.

We haven’t seen chess made an Olympic sport and darts has a better chance. I mean, when I played darts I considered it exercise. Shoot with the right hand, lift your pint with the left. Both sides of the body exercised and you get up to stand before the board. Actually, I’d love to see some medieval style darts where the darts were like short spears of up to a foot or so in length. But then I wouldn’t make it on the Olympic team no matter the length of dart.

I can see it now. The future Olympics; here are just a few sport to watch:

  • video gaming (with streamlined mice and chairs and special goggles)
  • Wii sports (in truth they’re closer to being an Olympic sport) alongside the same sports with real equipment
  • caricature drawing (it takes hand-eye coordination, artists must be checked for doping)
  • writing a book in three days (that takes speed of typing and a calculating, organized and creative mind)
  • dog walking (physical skill to weave around the leash while trying to control the beast)
  • cat brushing (make the pelt shiny and smooth and avoid the swift moving claws)
  • fly fishing (hand-eye coordination of getting the worm on the hook, casting the line and luring the catch, and not falling into the drink)
  • chess (oh heck, why not, it’s uh…stimulating)
  • card dealing (not poker but the shuffling, flipping and turning of cards in record time)
  • prestidigitation (just so I could use the word, sleight of hand, takes wiles and much coordination)
  • political double speak (takes fast wits, dodging hurled insults and making up things on the spot)

I wonder if Mr. Wendel knows just how much he could expand the realm of the Olympics. He could become the father of the new sports Olympics and cyber athletes, just as Bill Gates father the new computer age. And I know I could try out for several areas.

Ah yes,

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