While NBC does a nice job of providing background color on the U.S. athletes, it’s my sense that most viewers never get a deep sense of the dedication and single-mindedness that is required to rise to the elite level in today’s sports. I’ve watched this process for many years in the world of tennis, where I’ve worked as a coach, a facilities manager and administrator at the national level. It can involve parental commitments that go far beyond support into huge financial sacrifices and all manner of craziness. The untold story may be the hundreds of aspirants who fall by the wayside for every athlete attaining national prominence.
I’m thinking about this as I watch the opening ceremonies because the same sort of hyper-competitiveness has taken hold of the big-time world of computer gaming. This is the subject of my upcoming novel, IN REAL LIFE, which follows a gaming prodigy in his dreams of making it as a professional gamer on the lucrative South Korean circuit. It turns out this pursuit has more in common with skiers and skaters than you might think, including the emergence of million-dollar purses for gaming champions.
IN REAL LIFE is scheduled for publication this fall from Tuttle — more to follow at this locale.