Saturday, September 3, 2016

Do the games play us?

Temple Run. It's a neat little game I play on my iPhone. In fact, I've completed the daily challenge (every day there's a 'challenge': run so far, collect x amount of gems, and so on) for 224 straight days, including today. I'm rather proud of that fact. Really too proud, all things considered.

The first I do in the morning when I wake up is reach over to the night stand, unplug the phone from its charger, and complete the challenge. Often it's just a matter of minutes, but at times I have to play for a good half hour to make the goal. On those days where it takes longer I feel relieved rather than excited that I was successful. One day last week it took over an hour to do the daily challenge. I swear I was sweating when I finished, despite sitting at the kitchen table and not putting out any real effort.

I don't make money at this. I don't earn credits towards purchases. I don't have the almost infinitesimal glory of beating my friends, as none of them play. But it's darn near reached the point of a mania: I've got to make the daily challenge in Temple Run no matter what.

Which leads me to ask: am I playing the game, or is the game playing me?

I think most athletes, professional but especially college, should ask themselves that too.

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