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Sports Nerds Are Nerds Too

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 16 Oct 2012 16:00
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So maybe people play FIFA 13 because they like football in real life and would like to indulge a fantasy of being a professional footballer. That's almost admirable as far as fantasies go. At least it's fantasizing about something tangible that you could theoretically achieve with enough dedication and training. Not like my fantasies where I have the ability to kill people with the power of my mind. Or all the ones I indulge in videogames where I blow the legs off zombies to indirectly satisfy buried desires to tear down society. At least it's grounded, is my point. And at least football doesn't do any harm. Besides all the violence committed by football hooligans. And the economic effects of the massively exorbitant salaries. And all the ways it draws attention and funding from arts, science and cultural growth. But there's no direct harm, right? Besides to the players' shins.

Whatever, my interests have led to me having witnessed more simulated murders than World War 2 had real ones, so who am I to judge. My point is, I know my attitude towards FIFA 13 in my last video might have come across a bit sniffy, but let's not be sniffy about sports, or sports games. It's got just as much right to exist as that fucking pony thing. Maybe it's not as imaginative as wanting to be Buck Rogers, but you can still harbor dreams of being a footballer as long as you have two legs. It's not necessarily closed off to you even if you've had both your arms chopped off. Can't say that for the space hero thing.

People who like football are people who obsess over something others find very very boring. They archive all the stats and players and scores in their memory, keep up with all the updates, put posters of their favorite personalities on their walls, go to places where there are large congregations of people who also obsess over the very boring thing, and they even buy the shirts that their favorite personalities wear so that they can dress like them. "Cosplay," if you will. There's a word for this, and that word is "nerd."

I'm not judging. We're all nerds here. I would argue virtually everyone is. After all, what is a nerd? It's someone who has a passion for something. There are gaming nerds, and music nerds, and TV nerds, and train nerds, and yes, there are sports nerds. Let's stop all this nerd-on-nerd judgmentalism, alright? And pity that tragic minority of people who aren't nerds. People for whom there is nothing that provokes any passionate interest. Who regard all things with folded arms and an aloof sneer. What sad, empty, friendless lives they must lead.

If there is any way in which sports nerds are separated from their fellow nerds, it's that a lot of them seem to be in denial. And if we could just encourage them to drop this air of toughness and superiority, I think we could all get along a lot better. Because really, sports nerds, you're not fooling anyone. You can't keep pretending that wanting to watch your favorite hunks totter about in little pants is the very zenith of masculinity, just because you burned down your city afterwards. And went 'WHURRRRRGH' like a walrus that's just spotted a sinking herring trawler.

Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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