The Future of
Give Games a
By Donald J.
really think about it, the demise of sports was inevitable.
Athletes were destined to become extinct; the poor adrenaline-soaked,
lactic-acid-laden, mouth-breathing, muscle-bound, protein-shake-drinking freaks simply
never stood a chance.
Some say the
sports franchises were victims of their own success that the pay scales for athletes not
only became fiscally irresponsible for team owners, but alienating for Joe-Six-Pack fans.
The limited pool of true talent was so small and the owners so desperate to win at any
cost to fuel their own vicarious fantasy lives that the bidding became emotional,
irrational, sensational, and ultimately vindictive as owners, eager to show off the size
of their cajones, bid up even minor and mediocre talents to exact revenge for
losing a more renowned competitor to a rival. Toss
in the carrying costs of a small army of replacements, substitutes, farm team players,
coaches, assistant coaches, coordinators, trainers, technicians, cheerleaders, mascots,
schedulers, travel consultants, accountants, marketers, lawyers, trademark licensors, and
equipment wranglers and youre beginning to talk real money. Add the capital cost of the sporting venue,
associated practice fields, shoes, uniforms, sporting equipment, and jock straps (always
extra large) and you begin to understand why sports was dominated by rich white guys who
made their fortune doing something elsesomething
productive, something remunerative, something with an underlying economic sense to it.
The money was
crazy, sure, but so was the incomecities building huge, domed facilities with
taxpayer funds even though the stadiums did nothing but sit idle three hundred days a
year, television networks bilked billions out of beer pushers to broadcast their silly
little games, and fans got ripped-off on everything from programs to hot dogs to
officially-licensed shirts, caps, and all-terrain vehicles.
crazy sports machine probably would have lumbered along like an offensive linesman on
Vicodin if not for, well, the Vicodin . . . and drugs in general. The pressure to win, but
even more importantly, the desire to make a boat-load of money in the bidding frenzy for
talent, drove the simple-minded athlete to a simple solution: cheating. Soon steroids to build body-mass,
amphetamines to provide a performance burst, human growth hormones to become taller, blood
transfusions to enhance oxygenation, and numbing agents to allow playing with pain (or at
least what would have been pain, but for the drugs) predominated in the locker room. Not
soon after, revelations about drugs predominated on the sports page, in fantasy-league
discussions, in Olympic committee meetings, in Congressional hearing rooms, and
eventually, in the federal penitentiaries. Yep, people got locked up for cheating at
sports. Sooner or later, all the sports were
implicatedcycling, football, baseball, track, skiing, water polo, basketball,
hockey, tennis, pole-vaulting, synchronized-swimming, and even curling (you can sweep like
a banshee when youre on crack).
the scourge of drugs in sports became a top-level concern not only of the rulers of
sports, but the rulers of the worldmoms. Mom didnt want little Johnny hanging
out with a bunch of guys sharing more than dirty stories in the locker room, but at the
same time Mom didnt want little Johnny coming home crying because he couldnt
compete and Dad getting all frustrated because his son played like a wuss on the field.
Maybe it was better if Johnny just played a game with his friends in the basement or
sports could have held their own in trench warfare with gameseach with a phalanx of
players and fans, the ranks ebbing and peaking with a periodicity dictated by the latest
fadsif not for the injury factor. While it has always been true that people get hurt
when they fling their bodies or balls or pucks or pretty much anything else at one another
and that sports have always been associated with a certain number of tears, breaks, pulls,
lacerations, concussions, and deaths to the competitors or to the fans nearby, modern tort
law as brought to you by the modern tort lawyer (living the life of financial excess his
father always dreamed about) has made such inevitable bashings and the associated
bleeding, pain, and death very expensive.
ascendancy of the legal maxim that there is no injury which cannot be blamed on someone
elsethe team, the school, the facility, the ball, the equipment manufacturer, the
coach, the teammate, the opponent, the city, or the relevant rule-making body for the
sport, made injuries more expensive than utility outfielders.
more than the expense, there was Mom. Mom
didnt want Johnny getting hurt. Mom wanted Johnny protected from everything in
lifebullies, teachers, gold-digging women, bad grades, homework, peer pressure,
promiscuous women, drugs, hard work, snapped towels, athletes foot, and, of course,
getting hurt playing games in the dirt. No
sports for Johnny. Sports are dirty, dangerous, elitist, oriented only toward winning at
all costs, and infested with slutty cheerleaders. Dad would have to get his vicarious
thrills reading Sports IllustratedSwimsuit
At the same
time as sports spun into a downward spiral, gaming was on the rise. Mom wanted Johnny to be clean and safe and able to
play despite the lack of physical prowess and to cooperate with others toward a group goal
that would build his self-esteem, and keep him far, far away from slutty cheerleaders.
Aside from a
rare case of carpal-tunnel syndrome in someone with clearly inferior gaming equipment,
there is no risk of injury (no bleeding, bruising, pulling, tearing, breaking, or
concussing) in gaming. There are no tryouts to fuel anxiety, rage, or suicidal dismay.
There are no coteries of coaches, trainers, mascots, or slutty cheerleaders. There are no
stadiums to build, no fields to chalk, no significant expense of any kind.
either imaginary or virtual and much of it is built by the players themselves.
And, so, it
is not surprising that actual sports have become extinct (there are still sports-themed
games) and gamestable-top, virtual, one-on-one, team, or massively
multiplayerhave become what sports once were, complete with fans, sponsorships
(heavy on the caffeine-laden drinks, rather than beer), endorsements, pay-per-view
competitions, superstars, box scores, televised championships, and, yes, slutty
cheerleaders. Dad would be so proud.
Don's Latest News
Net Impact, Don's latest novel, is now available!
Buy electronic copy here or on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc. for $4.99. Soft cover, trade paperback also available: send $15.99 to email@example.com by PayPal or purchase it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or other outlets..
You can now connect with Don via Twitter at @donaldjbingle
Donald J. Bingle, Writer on Demand TM