Which of these people irritate you more?
The football player who shoves the camera man,
or the guy who slams his controller into the ground?
For me, the football player is the obvious answer,
but I wouldn’t blame anyone for disagreeing with me.
I wouldn’t fault anyone for feeling more disgust for the gamer than the athlete.
I wouldn’t hate anyone for feeling as though the athlete,
the guy pushing his bodily abilities to their limits
and having to uphold an image of competent manliness
and taking part in an art beloved by hundreds of millions
was more justified having a harder time keeping it together
than the guy who was whacking his fingers on a stick
who fulfilling the dorkiest form of self-actualization,
who was playing a game in a way barely intended by anyone
who was likely never going to be seen as desirable for his pastime.
Obviously, my heart goes out more to the gamer who appreciates Nintendo.
Obviously, I feel sickened by jocks who love to intimidate.
But in the moment where self-control seems to collapse,
when one’s heart overflows with aggravation,
when circumstances fill you with shame,
and where good tactics get brutally mocked,
both people feel rather holistic, don’t they?
There’s definitely a “vibe” worth dissecting on both sides, isn’t there?
Surely you’re in agreement.
Neither of these people are having the same exact flavor of tantrum. Neither feel pride the same way, test themselves the same way, build up confidence in the same way, overcome shame in the same way.
But you could describe both people as having trouble managing the heat inside their own heart. The fire like energy deep within that wants so badly for everything to come together.
The barely tolerable spice that a person needs to survive the toughest enemies.
Whether you’re a gamer or an athlete of any level of seriousness, you all want your self to come together.
You put effort into being patient, being risky, being innovative.
Being awkward, being freaky, being what people are unlikely to validate, but might.
You never feel more like you when all the effort you put in to just be the fucking winner at something you love is on display.
When that breaks apart, you can feel yourself turning into the image of what you don’t want to be:
a high-effort loser in public.
A lot of people think hardcore gamers are irritating, elitist and childlike.
They seem to embrace unattractive traits to be part of something better than adult life. They build each other up while disagreeing about their basic gaming tastes.
A lot of people think full time athletes are transcendentally toxic, selfish, and insincere.
They seem to embrace aggravating behavior to be part of something superior to creativity.
They treat themselves as a higher class of human while holding bitter tribal rivalries.
But this is the common denominator between fighting gamers and outfield players:
Both of are masters of bearing the weight of their own desire to win.
Both get satisfaction from fulfilling their own maddening need for victory.
Both would prefer people look up to them for managing their own selves
on a path to satisfaction and success.
Both aspire not to be the type of person who breaks down in frustration,
especially when others are watching,
and both put effort into identifying who fails the hardest at that.
And both are just as likely to say that something is “just a game” as much as they are apt to feel unbridled fury when somebody else says the same.
The conclusion of this post is this:
whenever you see someone put shocking amounts of emotional energy into making fun of or demeaning a certain hobby or activity or lifestyle,
that person’s heart is still saying
“I am trying to be the opposite of a cringe-worthy human stereotype”.
“I am trying to play hard at life without embarrassing myself”
“I want to taste what it’s like to be strong but also stable”
“I want to be in overwhelming situations where I make it out beautifully”.
“I want to identify and deconstruct what it is that makes us humans act ugly”.
“I want to come out on top the right way, whatever that is”
Your heart remains very, very positive feeling, even when you show aggression after defeat.
You don’t feel like the loser, you don’t feel like the fool, you don’t feel pathetic.
You feel like you’re just being a person who want to invoke and savor their inner strength.
If you are the stereotype, you are a stereotype with no name.
You are the problem everyone is without wanting to be.
You have the vibe, the friction, the tension, the self-awareness, the capability of decency, everything impossible to guard against.
If so, let me be the secret dodge, the armor cracker,
against the indignation that feels ridiculously appropriate.
The prodigy of countering that which feels like merely “having heart”.
The down+B for everything “Karen”.