A quick story: World Cup '06 was wonderful, soccer seemed interesting, my favorite sportswriter Bill Simmons decided to follow the EPL as a result, and I wound up a soccer fan. I even got the Fox Soccer Channel and a Robbie Keane shirt and am thus completely on the other side of the soccer douchebag fence.
So in February when EA Sports released Fifa '07, I bought it the first millisecond it was available. I played approximately nine hundred hours a week and became, I thought, an unstoppable Fifa force. I imagined myself like the Christian Bale Batman, studying bad-assery in the far off reaches of Asia, readying myself for a triumphant reveal to the online community.
When my Xbox died in June, Microsoft was kind enough to replace it and send along a free month of Xbox live. I thought my training was complete and it was only a few weeks before I was atop the leaderboards and a feared whisper among the other players. "I played jayblackcomedy yesterday. My thumbs are still bleeding."
I'm getting my ass kicked so severely and regularly it's actually affecting my offline self esteem. I feel like a case study in a bleeding edge psychology journal. These people are crazy good and my single player experience lied to me!
There are two major emotions at work when I play, both of which I'm very familiar with. The first is the "I need to get better at any cost" emotion. This is the feeling where I want to abandon my wife and child, quit my career and become one of those people that do nothing all day but play video games (i.e. college students). The second is the "Who gives a shit" emotion where I want to embrace life and love in a fit of sour-grapes superiority over the people who are better than me at the game.
I'm probably too saddled with Irish guilt to follow the former path, but I don't know if I'll be able to overcome my addiction to the game to follow the latter. It's the major dilemma of my life right now.