Column: Life with Logan

Logan Smith

 I had exactly 16 seconds to make my move. 

The game was tied, and it all came down to this. 

Hundreds of energetic fans cheered as I dribbled past half-court. 

12 seconds. 

My 6’3 defender pursued me with extreme focus. The crowd shouted another chorus of “Defense! Defense!” as I stared down my destination: the iron hoop. 

10 seconds. 

I had dreamt of this moment my whole life. My mind flashed back to my tiny driveway, and the hours of practice honing my basketball skills. My dad rebounded for me, and we replicated end-game scenarios just in case the moment would ever call for it. It seemed innocent at the time, but as I dribbled the ball with time disappearing off the clock, I realized its significance. 

8 seconds. 

If I shot now, I would give the other team the final possession. I needed to wait just a few more seconds before making my move. 

6 seconds. 

My teammate tried to set a screen for me, but I motioned him to clear out. I was going to take my opponent one-on-one. At that moment, everything was clear. The whole gymnasium knew I would take the final shot. 

4 seconds. 

I quickly faked my defender with a left jab-step, my signature move, then I swung hard to the right. My fast change of pace forced my defender on his heels, providing a split-second window to take an open shot. 

2 seconds. 

With my foot just inside the 3-point line, I elevated as high as possible. With my gaze directly on the iron hoop, I released my shot. My form was perfect. Everything felt just right. The crowd went silent, and the ball spiraled through open air. 

Something inside me knew I would make it, maybe because I had turned the shooting percentage to 100 before starting the video game. As expected, the ball flew directly into the digital hoop. “SWISH.” 

After nonchalantly celebrating my victory, I turned off my GameCube and grabbed a Coke from the fridge. Just another day at the office playing NBA 2k2. 

There’s a popular misconception floating around that video games are for lazy, unemployed 40-year-old men who live in their parents’ basement. While true in many instances, there’s also a colossal subculture of gamers who professionally compete for national prominence. This humble side of gaming culture commonly gets overlooked because of this video game stereotype. 

Around 2010, the gaming industry discovered an intense demand for livestreaming video games, particularly real-time strategy (RTS) and multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA). This catapulted geek culture into a frenzy and opened the door for eSports (Electronic Sports) to take flight. 

Contrary to the popular stereotype, video games actually require intense mental fortitude. And although I don’t consider myself a competitive or talented gamer by any means, I deeply respect people who work hard to master their chosen game. 

Professional gamers aren’t couch potatoes aggressively consuming unhealthy amounts of carbs and energy drinks. Many professional League of Legends teams, for example, hire nutritionists to ensure mental and physical endurance while competing during tournaments and training sessions. 

But even if you’re not a talented gamer, you can always do what I do: adjust the game’s skill level. If you’re craving for a moment of basketball glory, increase the shooting percentage on 2k to 100. It may be cheating, but at least it’s not cheating in the real world. 

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