Sunday, June 15, 2014

Love What You Do

This is the Next Day.

Some days, being a fan of your National Side can be pretty thankless.

Trying to explain to people who don't get sport why it matters so much is roughly akin to trying to make a non-gamer understand why you enjoy living in a virtual world. I've realised over the years that my joy in Warcraft and my desire to see my National Football side (soccer for those of you with the odd shaped balls) succeed are perhaps far more closely linked than I'm comfortable in admitting. It is interesting watch people like Belghast explain why sport doesn't grab them and to see why when something is rammed down your throat you can develop a very understandable aversion to it. I was never bought up with an interest in sports, in fact it was quite the opposite. I used my teen years pretending to like them as an excuse to watch boys (THERE I SAID IT) but when I met Mr Alt (who has been involved in field hockey since his teens) it stopped being about a passive involvement. I learnt to love many things I had previously deliberately avoided, with football being the most significant.

Now, I find myself acknoledging the fact we managed to score a goal from behind last night, that there are signs of real progress from this National side. We still lack defensive strength, there are problems down the left side that desperately need addressing... but even though we lost there is still a cautious optimism this morning I'll admit I've not felt for some time. My ability to rationalise things is getting better as time goes on, and at the back of my mind I do actually realise that it is gaming that is providing the tools to help that happen. I'm also very aware of the increasing number of people who don't really give a flying gnome about the Football is also tempering my desire to talk about it. So why the heck am I here, doing exactly that, when maybe the most sensible thing would be to have a post on something that has absolutely NOTHING to do with sport?

To understand why people do things, you need to grasp what motivates them to begin with.

Learn to understand.

There's an almost constant undercurrent of late in relation to the 'toxic' behaviour of people online. It is easy to assume that these people are simply unpleasant individuals, and with the nature of interaction (especially on a medium like Twitter) you will never have a chance to learn much about motivation to begin with. However, what becomes apparent over time is that a lot of this behaviour is borne from a general misunderstanding of issues and circumstances. People won't, as a rule, go and read about issues unless they have a personal involvement in them, as is also the case with learning about new boss strats or class changes. They often choose to fixate on particular aspects of issue without making any effort at all to understand *why* there is a problem to begin with. The same is ultimately true in Football: everyone needs a scapegoat, the player who ruined the day for everyone, without the wider understanding that if the team doesn't play well, it doesn't matter how good or bad individuals perform. Like beating a boss in a raid, you can have individual flair, but without everyone pulling their weight, you will not succeed. Players need to learn, not simply to understand what is right but why something is wrong, and narrow-minded outlooks ultimately will hinder their progress.

This is why I think competitive sports has an awful lot to teach players about the wider issues they can encounter when gaming. It also appears, at least listening and reading the reaction to my national side's defeat last night in the broadcast and print media this morning, that sport is teaching people that sometimes change is the only way forward.

Take the good from the bad.

Since we held the Olympics in 2012, British Sport has undoubtedly undergone something of a renaissance, but it is the outlook of fans and the press that has undergone perhaps the biggest revolution. There is still a current of negativity but underpinning this is a clear desire to not simply be critical of performances, but to discuss WHY this is happening. It has perhaps been borne of a confidence in our own abilities to be not simply good, but good enough to compete with other nations on an equal footing. I suppose a lot of this has to do with confidence and a desire to actually be entertaining, but a lot more of this I sense is linked to the understanding that making sport enjoyable is actually preferable to simply doing enough. In the end, it isn't just one person's fault that team sports fail, it is the sum of the parts that matters, and that is the key.

To those people who are probably already sick of football, I can only offer my apologies, because we'll be doing this for a few more weeks yet. However, I do promise that starting tomorrow you'll not get any more Football-related posts apart form the #WCOW14 stuff that you can choose to easily filter out. We'll go back to gaming, but what you'll hopefully have taken from this is that, at least for me, the sum of my parts isn't simply about what I do when I'm in Azeroth. I am a complex and often emotional football fan, but deep down I understand that sometimes the only way to move forward is to take a step or too back and consider your position.

Life isn't just about Warcraft, after all.

1 comment:

kunukia said...

Very nice.
In one of your earlier posts I admitted that the only time I had watched high school soccer was to watch the boys.
Today, I am admitting that my love of baseball started back in high school also, when I had a crush on one of the pitchers. I watched enough to learn the rules, and grew to love the game.
This was cemented when I lived in Boston, close to Fenway Park, the baseball stadium, and used to walk there after work, because they opened the gates towards the end of the game and let anyone in without a ticket.
Now, I will watch any baseball game, little kids, minor league, old people. The game that plays out, same rules, different players, is beautiful to me. And best of all, The Boston Red Sox...