It is true that the world is moving towards a reality which would have virtual and augmented elements. But does that mean that sports would disappear from an average Indian household and get replaced by video games?
Sadly, yes! The trend of kids engaging themselves with video
games in their freetime is on the rise. Console and PC games have been complemented by phone and tablet based games in keeping the kids off the pitch. The problem that no one is talking about is the dwindling number of kids in the playground. It is true that the sports standards have gone up, but the number of people who play sports has plummeted. Blaming video games is not enough, here is a look at the multiple reasons that keep the kids indoors.
It is easier….
Well to tell you the truth, playing video games is way more comfortable than going outdoors. The sun, equipment and other players apart, it has become difficult to play sports. Be it the uncles, unsafe environment or the parental pressure, the list of excuses for not going out is extensive:
Sitting in front of the television and participating in a contest that resembles a real competitive sport or similar situation, one has to admit, is more agreeable. The warmth of the bean bag in which one sinks while letting the fingers do the work, has the magical power of latching itself to the body. Add finger food to that, air condition environment and a huge selection of what to do next, (Game titles, modes, opponents, online play, etc) allow one to never get bored.
Compare that to the tedious task of putting on footwear, collecting the equipment and then finding a suitable place to play the game. The external factors like the heat, wind, sunlight are variable unlike the 19 degrees set on the Air conditioner. If it could get more difficult, one ends up sweating, getting dirty and may even pick up a knock or two.
For the sheer ease, The video games have become popular. It is easier to monitor the kid when he is indoors. Where sports require a certain talent and understanding of the game, whereas most videogames just require basic level tech understanding and hand-eye (more like thumb eye) coordination.
In full fledged sports, it takes time for the people to find suitable matches and leagues but in the virtual game world it’s all sorted out. All you need is a working internet connection and one would never lack an opponent.
If you were under the illusion that people can only play with people in their server range, you couldn’t be more off the mark. Someone sitting in Egypt can draw a game with someone in iceland. The reach of the games is global unlike the games we are used to seeing around the neighbourhood.
Not only that all these games have a system of a clan/leagues ie: groups based on your talents and skill rating. In simple words on would never have to find a team to play for.
Gone are the days of waiting around and hoping that one’s friends would turn up to the ground on time. It is no longer necessary to go around ringing bells or calling the houses of friends.At the touch of a button a world of possibilities opens up on the screen.
SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT
Personally there is no greater joy than scoring 50 runs, a hattrick or be the player who dominates a game of KHO-KHO or badminton. But these are only localised results.
Someone who plays the video games on the other can get wins and jumps leagues and achieve status that will only be dream for someone playing on the street. For example: If you score well in COD (Call of Duty) you will be promoted to a higher group and so on. This system of promotion is not exclusive.
Where it takes years and years of practice to win tournaments and make a name for oneself in the world of sports, it is way faster when you have a controller of keyboard in front of you.
This trend has also caught up to make gaming zones. Places that organize a local tournament and the winner gets to represent and lead the zone/clan in inter group matches.
EA Sports’ FIFA has an annual award for the best FIFA player post a global selcetion round. This said player is awarded on the same stage as the FIFA Player of the year. That is a testament to games coming of age.
Video Games vs Sports
THE WAY FORWARD
While it is far fetched that in the coming decades sports will become obsolete, but it is certain that playing them for recreation might lose out to video games. Something that started as a means to connect and spend quality time has impacted the world in a way that no one could have predicted in the 1990s when they were introduced.
The sense of well being that was achieved through a rigorous game with friends has been lost. In urban and semi urban areas of the country, it safe to say, that the internet penetration has led to more cases of obesity. Sitting at home and “playing” has replaced burning a few calories on the playground. Everyone caught in this snow-storm needs another way to expel their energy. Let’s just hope that ‘one last game’ won’t make the average player a couch potato and restrict sports only to the coaching and training centres.