Our engines are revving as our names appear on the grid.
My five-year-old daughter stares me down, a steely look in her eye.
“Not today, dad,” she says.
She glances back at the screen, her car sitting in pole position, and she looks at me again.
“I’m going to beat you,” she whispers ominously.
We’re level at 2-2 in a five-race challenge and I’m pretty sure this kid has been letting me win.
The light turns green and she slams it down from the start.
Yip, she was letting me win.
She crosses the finish line wellclear, and I hobble home after smashing into three walls and a bridge, my car barely moving.
That was brutal.
I never stood a chance.
Raised by parents who expected me to stay outside until it was dark, quality time with my daughters is usually spent hiking around the trails near our home, riding bikes to the park or kicking a ball in the back garden.
The older they get, however, the more I realise the world they live in is not the same as mine.
Born into a life of virtual technology, they are connected to the globe, and they spend as much time staring at screens as they do anything else.
Rather than cutting them off from those screens, we’ve tried to find ways to ensure balance in their lives.
However, being forced into playing video games in order to spend quality time with my kids during the lockdown has been an eye-opening experience.
Many of the same lessons which can be learned on a sportsfield can be learned in a virtual contest.
In most games you have to learn to handle yourself in victory and defeat, in others you must learn to work as a team, and in some you
are taught humility in the harshest way when your five-year-old kid lets you win.
The fight against Covid-19 has changed our lives, and while most codes have taken a major knock, it has been a promotional opportunity for the fastest rising sport which people are reluctant to call a sport.
If E-sports were growing in popularity before the global shutdown, interest must now be breaking the ceiling.
In an effort to maintain interest in various codes, cyclists are competing on stationary bikes across the world and runners are challenging each other to races in their gardens, as sport adapts to a virtual world.
Video games will never really replicate outdoor exercise, but the lockdown looks to have pushed an inevitable switch, and there’s no
stopping E-sports now.
If any codes want to stay in touch, they’re going to have to find ways to remain relevant to a younger generation.
My daughter will kick a football with me, but she’d rather be a world-class racing driver who chases titles and lets her dad win.
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