First Person

First Person
Little League Trained Me for Battlefield 3

Dennis C. Scimeca | 26 Jan 2012 16:00
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I have zero patience for hackers and glitchers in first person shooters. I can't stand employing cheap tactics even if they're completely above board. In Battlefield 3, the Recon class can unlock a Micro Air Vehicle which they can stand on and lift themselves up in the air with, giving them an elevated position from which to snipe. This isn't a glitch, but it's cheesy as hell and I won't do it. The Micro Air Vehicle can also be used to run players down, and it takes way too many bullets to destroy. Dodging an MAV and trying to swat it down like an insect ruins matches for me and my squad, so I won't do this, either.

Playing team sports is about knowing your position.

I knew to back up the shortstop at second base when he took a throw from the catcher to catch someone trying to steal the base. I hustled my ass over there every time. I knew to cover first base when the first baseman ran in to grab a bunt. I knew to get into relay position after a deep hit to the field in order to get in position for a relay throw to home plate.

My friend Bryan and I have been playing FPS games together for years. In the real life military, platoons break down into squads, which break down into fire teams, which break down into buddy teams. If I'm part of a buddy team in an FPS it's with Bryan. When our team is attacking a flag there are few things more satisfying than when Bryan sees me covering the area with him and says "Of course you're right there with me. Of course you are." I can be depended upon to do my job.

I think the most important lesson I learned from playing baseball was being there for your team. The Assault class in Battlefield 3 can resuscitate dead players to get them back into the fight without waiting for a respawn. In a match a few weeks ago, I was driving a tank around the perimeter of a flag held by my squad, and saw Bryan in a close-quarters exchange of fire with one of the bad guys. I saw both of them go down, so I quickly jumped out of the tank, ran over to Bryan while I equipped my defibrillator, hit his body with the paddles and then dove back into the tank.

There was no thought or hesitation. My buddy was down, and I had to get him back up. And it felt exactly like giving a friend on my baseball team a pat on the back when he struck out after a full count, or wafted an easy pop fly as the third out of an inning in a close game.

I may have been terrible at baseball but I understand the sport well enough to be able to coach a Little League team if and when I have kids and teach them the same lessons my father taught me ... but maybe I'll try to sneak a controller into their hands a little earlier than my wife might like and teach them via eSport instead. At least then Daddy could play with them without making a fool of himself in the process.

First Person is a weekly column by Boston, MA-based freelancer Dennis Scimeca. You can read some of his other musings on his blog, or follow his random excitations on Twitter: @DennisScimeca.

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