Sunday, April 27, 2014

This (Non) Sporting Life: Is D&D a Sport?

Welcome back to This (Non) Sporting Life, my weekly(ish) blog post on sports by a guy who doesn't know a lot about sports.  

And when I say "sports", I mean those organized activities that involves running and balls and stuff like that: baseball, basketball, football, ballball, etc etc.  

But these are sports that go back many, many years and involve physical activity. We're in the 21st century now and our bodies are devolving into to diabetic goo. We need new sports to rally around that fit my lifestyle of an increasingly inert 21st century American male.  Sports like Speed Solitaire and Competitive Fruit Ninja.  Oh hell yeah, that's some stuff I can throw down on. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. That whole "lack of physical activity" thing, you know?)  

I wonder if Dungeons and Dragons could be a sport? Whole teams of nerdy basement dwellers fighting imaginary battles against...

Wait, is Dungeons and Dragons still a thing? Or has it faded into obsolescence like so much of my long gone youth? 

You know how real athletes might have that one really cool story about how they scored the winning touchdown and drained a basket at the buzzer? Long after they halcyon days of youth are behind them, that one special memory of that one special moment will keep them warm on the coldest nights. 

Well, I have one such memory. Except it was from a D&D game I was engaged in so this story has the distinction of really happening AND not happening at all at the same time. 

In college I was part of regular D&D gang that met in the dorm of my best friend from college, Mike. Mike lived in the party dorm. Every dorm likes to think they can party but every school as that one dorm where "party" is a way of life.  Mike lived in one of those dorms. 

Except Mike and his associated friends (including, shockingly, me) were not party dorm people. So we found an out of the way room in the basement where we would me to, engage in a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons. 

Our group got really good at fighting monsters and orcs and ogres and wizards. Our various characters became quite powerful, none more so than my character, a cleric named Valerion.  

Valerion had accumulated quite a number of spells and enchanted artifacts in his numerous adventures, Among those artifacts was an enchanted cape of levitation. 

Whenever Valerion would step up to do something, I would invariably announce, "With his cape flowing in the wind, Valerian casts a freeze spell." What can I say? Valerion had a flare for the dramatic and as far as I was concerned, he looked damned good in a cape. 

Mike was our Dungeon Master; he ran some pretty cool campaigns. But Mike was getting a bit tired of Valerion's posturing.  So one day this came to pass. 

Our gang of adventurers was about to face up to some derring do and Valerion was ready to step up and save the day.  "With his magic sword at the ready and his cape flowing dramatically in the wind, Valerion..."

Mike held up a hand to cut me off. Then rolled the dice. Looking up at me with a wicked grin, Mike said, "There is no wind." 

Not missing a beat, I rolled the dice and smiled when I saw the result. So I replied, "Valerion, having successfully cast a wind spell, his cape flowing dramatically in the wind...."

That was over 30 years ago and I swear that in probably this most stand out great memory from college years.  Quite frankly, I think that deserves a trophy to commemorate the occasion. 


What got me thinking about D&D and my story was this picture I saw on Twitter. 

Maybe D&D is still a thing. At any rate, I will assure you, none of gang from college every dressed like any one in this picture. 

More than once, at any rate. 

Y'all be good to one another, 'kay? 

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

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