In most respects I’m a normal guy. I have a lot of interests and hobbies. Besides my career, I read, write, hike, bike, play guitar, fish and kayak. I like to watch movies with my wife and take my dogs for walks. These are all normal things I enjoy and appreciate in my life. You would think it would keep me busy and content. But always there’s a longing-- a secret need-- that gnaws at my soul.
Believe me, it’s not something I’m proud of. But who can explain these kinks and fetishes? Is it something gone haywire in our DNA? Or some kind of psychosis caused by mental trauma? I don’t know. But for whatever reason, I have a secret addiction I have been hiding from my friends, co-workers and even my closest family members. It is a bizarre lifestyle for someone my age. I know it’s wrong, but I just can’t seem to stop.
I like to play sports dynasty video games.
There. I said it. And I know what you’re thinking. Alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling or secret cross-dressing—these are all things you could understand. But video games for a 50 year old? I know, I know. I am embarrassed and ashamed. And yet…
I’ve always been something of a sports geek. Even when I was in grade school I played statistical baseball and football games with dice and charts and spinning wheels. This was before computers and for years I kept careful track of statistics, teams and seasons in a spiral bound binder… I even wrote faux newspaper articles about my fictional teams and player’s exploits. Weird, huh?
Then came video games. The first ones were pretty crude but, compared to pen and paper, they opened up a whole new world…. Customizable players and teams, computer tracked statistics, even the game play itself was a revelation. Suddenly things that took me an hour to calculate was being done instantaneously. And the games, like the industry evolved quickly. I remember manually inputting player’s names and attributes into a program to predict the Giants/Bills Superbowl. A couple years later, all I had to do to simulate a Superbowl was push a couple buttons.
Today the sports video games are awesome. They are realistic, eye-popping and addictive. Often I’ve been startled by a visitor walking in and saying, ”Oh I didn’t know the Diamondbacks were on.” “Ah… Yeah right, it’s a day game.” We secret deviants are good at lying to protect our secrets.
With the current games, I can be owner, GM, talent scout, coach and star player. It’s an immersive and alluring fantasy world in which I am in complete control. I’ve fallen to the point, in fact, where video sports games has ruined the real thing for me. Why watch some dumb coach make a boneheaded move when I can do it myself? I’m so used to calling the plays, in fact, it drives me crazy to sit there passively and just watch. And if my favorite team is getting their butts beat (something that happens quite regularly here in Arizona), there’s always the reboot button.
I guess it’s really no different than any other colossal time suck we all participate in—computer solitaire, television, TV sports, fantasy sports teams, crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. Still, you have to admit, there’s a stigma attached. A grown man playing video games? Grow up! I’m ashamed of myself. But I can’t stop.
Now that I’ve come clean and outed myself, it’s time for other men and women to step forward. Maybe it’s ok to be an elderly game geek. Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe we can all get together and have a weekly meeting and support group with coffee, donuts and discussion…
Or, you know, play video games or something.