A bunch of nerds running around pretending to be elven warriors with foam swords. That’s bad fantasy. A bunch of macho-looking office guys screaming while following stats about football. That’s good fantasy.
This is from an ESPN commercial that compares fantasy football and Live Action Role Playing, aka LARPing. (If you don’t know what LARP is, it’s kind of like cosplay mixed with Dungeons & Dragons with a bit of World of Warcraft for good measure.)
Once again, dorks are getting picked on by jocks. How did chilling out with your friends, going outside, pretending to be something else and doing something creative become something bad?
How does sitting at a computer, analyzing statistics, agonizing over possibilities, watching your little team beat your friends’ little teams and worshipping steroid-filled athletes become good?
If you didn’t gather it, I hate football. I played in junior high and high school — and by “played,” I mean I sat the bench and sometimes made it on the field when I couldn’t possibly ruin the game. I don’t even know why I bothered. I sucked. I attended a couple CU games, and those were fun, but you could take the football out of the picture and I’d be more interested.
While I’ve never delved into the world of LARPing, I definitely see the appeal. Given the choice to watch overpaid assholes hit each other and brag about it or imagine myself as a dashing crusader rescuing a princess and then writing a sonnet about it, I’ll pick being a knight any day.
I quickly learned that I’d never be a football star. However, the first time I took out a 20-sided die, I instantly became something I’ve always wanted to be: somebody else.
I absolutely love Dungeons & Dragons. In the game, I’m a half-orc ranger named … just kidding. I’ll never bore somebody with the details of my D&D character, because I know you don’t care. But for the few hours I spend playing D&D, I get to hang out with my friends, use my brain, invent new stories and put my phone away.
No longer do I work as a technical writer — a job so boring I can’t even begin to explain it without nearly falling asleep. I’m not battling student debt, phone addiction, loneliness, self-doubt, low self-esteem and the torture of listening to people talk about fantasy football.
In my D&D world, I’m a hero that bards ache to write about. I own a bar, inn and house where people go to seek, um … companionship. (Hey, my golden fire arrows don’t pay for themselves.) I solve mysteries, go on quests and all that nerd stuff. But most importantly, my fellow adventurers are with me every skipping step of the way.
Role-playing games like LARP and D&D follow very strict rules, possibly the most important is … just kidding, I bet you’d rather risk the Seven Terrors of Loco the Lifelicker.
The point is that LARP and D&D get people together for fun, friendship and face time. How’s that bad?