Armchair Athletes Unite

Gamers give one for the thumb

I used to have this roommate who was addicted to video games. He'd play them all day, from the time he woke up until he went to bed; sometimes, he'd take a break and, like, go to work. But for the most part, he spent hour after hour ass-down in the rocking chair, staring at the television, viciously moving his thumbs on the controller's buttons. For a little variety, his friends would come over -- to play video games. They'd watch one another play, mocking one another's skills and yelling helpful hints along the order of, "Dude, watch out! Get that guy!" Sometimes two could play a game together, and then they'd fight over who got to be which character. Imagine 20-year-old punk-rock boys whining, "I want to be the blue ninja. I want to drive the Lamborghini."

This isn't a tale of how the $10 billion video-game industry makes impressionable youths violent. The only effects I saw were the warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, harassing calls from Blockbuster about late charges, and the occasional midnight game of street tennis using a flaming ball that had been doused in lighter fluid. Actually, this is a tale about how boys like to sit around and play video games together and how one fan found a way to make some money from it. Lance Garms founded Dallas' Tournament Gaming, which will hold its first all-day video-game competition in Plano on June 26.

"I know so many people who would love to have the chance to test their gaming skills against those of other video-game junkies. I'm a video-game fanatic, so this idea came easy to me," Garms says.

Get those thumbs ready for all-day playing.
Get those thumbs ready for all-day playing.

The tournament will allow several hundred players to compete on games featuring such sports as hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, and golf. The three to five top-scoring players from each game will win cash and prizes. And, if Garms' idea pays off, the winners will get to compete against other regional winners in the national video-game tournament he hopes to hold in either Orlando or Las Vegas. He says he'd also like to form some partnerships with electronic-game companies and get local professional athletes involved. Pardon -- you mean people play these games in real life? Like, outside? Without televisions and computer chips? Dude, you can't be serious.

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