CRAIG NELSON: Videos thrills for sporting stars do not aid the future
11:00pm Saturday 21st September 2013 in Sport
WHEN arguably the world’s premier sporting icon is a self-confessed video game addict, you wonder what hope there is for the “yoof” of today.
Usain Bolt readily admits he loves nothing more than a marathon session on his favourite computer games, and this week confessed he even thinks about them on the blocks before a big race.
The Jamaican sprinter is not the only sporting star with a penchant for the PlayStation, of course.
Former England goalkeeper David James once spent a few weeks on the treatment table with a wrist strain picked up by playing hours and hours of FIFA football.
It is fair to say professional sportsmen and women maybe have too much time on their hands.
But the reality is they balance out the hours spent on their backside playing video games when most youngsters don’t.
The sight of the queues of kids snaking out of video game stores this week waiting to get the new version of Grand Theft Auto (GTA5) – the latest must-have game – was depressing and backed up the saying: “Youth is wasted on the young.”
I’m embarrassed to admit I was once one of these sad, misguided kids, only my enjoyment of video games continued after my youth and into my 20s.
And now I’m a 38-year-old dad without a minute of spare time, I wish I could claw back all those wasted hours in front of the TV, shooting baddies and scoring worldies?
Gaming takes your time and energy and gives you nothing back in return.
If you finish a game, and invariably you don’t, the end arrives with a sense of anti-climax, and a nagging feeling you could beat your score.
I can only imagine how much more healthy and less flabby around the edges I would be if I had spent my spare time playing sport rather than twiddling my thumbs.
Certainly, I know plenty of sports coaches in and around the Bolton area who feel they are fighting a losing battle against the PlayStation, Xbox and Wii.
To them, the video game is the enemy.
So many local junior teams are short on numbers, crying out for kids to mould into fit, healthy and talented young sportsmen and women.
Thankfully, many clubs in the town are not giving up without a fight.
A quick thumb through our weekly Your Sport supplement on Tuesdays highlights some of the good work going on in the town.
Bolton’s Get Active team (www.getactivebolton.co.uk), is also doing its bit, trying to educate families about the sporting opportunities in the area and the benefits of regular exercise.
It is definitely a cause that needs our support. I just wish more sporting heroes like Bolt would set a better example.