On a quiet drive to work Monday morning, the emptiness of the post struck me. As I went past the empty tracks and fields, I noticed that there weren’t any engaging in what a four-day weekend may’ve brought in the past: pickup games.
You know, grab a ball and some friends and go kill a few hours. (It’s even better when you play on concrete; my hand scars can attest to that.)
Then, the thought struck me: what if they were inside, playing “Fortnite?” (For all the parents out there, it’s a video game with far more popularity than can be properly explained in one column.)
I’ll be the first to admit that, as a Millennial, I don’t get “Fortnite.” Essentially, people from all around the world can gear up the ol’ computer or phone, log in and lose hours and hours to mindless battle royales.
Fortnite is culturally ubiquitous — seen through NFL celebration dances, which pay homage to the game; to Lebron James Jr., who made news when he interrupted his father’s livestream to ask if his father wanted to play with him.
A Navy Times piece covered the rise of “Fortnite,” and you can’t help but feel that a number of young Soldiers probably engage in the game with 125 million players. So, it’s kind of a big deal.
This all made me wonder: with the popularity of the game and its cultural ties to younger people, such as myself, has it replaced pickup games?
Does one grab the pigskin or the keypad while trying to lose a few hours, in that grand endeavor of making an extra day off go by faster? Has the touch football games of the Kennedy compound given way to a brightly colored world with millions of people?
Maybe, but not entirely. Sure, on a day like Monday, the bracing cold might not call to the brave of heart like it once did, but there’s still that element of spontaneity in absent recreation, where rules are nonexistent and a “foul on the play” can be dealt with next down.
So while commanders and parents alike might not get “Fortnite” or the young’s favoring of video games in general, I don’t think a timeless American, nay, Thanksgiving-time tradition like a pickup game of football is at risk of being overtaken by them. For, truly, nothing can replace a good game between good friends, regardless of type or location. On that sentimental note, I need to go log in to something — game on.