Fourth Quarter

This entry originally appeared on my disability blog, I hate stairs.

Scene from NES game; Quarterback celebrates touchdown in all his 8-bit glory

John Elway, screenshot of Tecmo Super Bowl

I use to be near the forefront of video gaming technology. When I was a kid I usually had a better video game setup than my friends. My first system was the NES. One of my first games, if not the first, was Super Mario Bros. Since my father was a big football fan, he taught me football basics when I was young. Our game was Tecmo Super Bowl on the NES. Perhaps you could say that was our way of playing football in the back yard.

Video games often filled a void in my young life. I loved sports and competition. And I especially loved winning. In 1998, I bought Madden NFL 99 for the N64. That marked the beginning of a long tradition. I have either bought or been given the annual edition of the Madden series for 11 straight years before this year. I loved it. The more the game evolved into an accurate simulation of football, the more I loved it.

But the day that I feared would come finally did. I lost the ability to use the controller. It did not happen overnight, but sometime between this blog’s origin in the summer of 2008 and now, I crossed the I-just-can’t-do-this-anymore threshold. It happened at about the same time that I lost the ability to type. I had sort of given up on playing Madden this year, so I didn’t buy the game. And I had yet to make the switch to the next generation of consoles. That changed this year when I got a Playstation 3 for Christmas along with Madden ‘10. I had not played at all for months, and I knew that my left hand in particular was significantly weaker than it was last time I picked up a controller. To my dismay, I just couldn’t do it. And it really bothered me. I had a Playstation 3 and Madden ‘10 right in front of me and I couldn’t play it. It’s not just another ability in a long line of abilities that I have lost because of my SMA. Okay, it is, but it’s more than that.

Losing my gross motor skills didn’t affect my general outlook on life because I had other abilities to fall back on. So even though I didn’t have the ability to shoot hoops on the basketball court, I could do other things. I enjoyed creative writing. I watched movies. And I could play Madden. And that was something I could do to have some competition with my friends.

But SMA took football from me. And it took writing (by making it slow and tedious). It keeps taking and taking. Its hunger is never filled nor its thirst quenched. I feel like I am going into the fourth quarter and SMA is up by two touchdowns.

Coincidentally, my favorite NFL player of all time is John Elway. I’m too young to fully appreciate him as he retired just after I began keeping up with sports in 1999. Nonetheless, I was interested in him in when I was young. In high school, I wrote a paper about his career.

As a rookie, he was ambitious, perhaps cocky. He boasted that he would win five Super Bowls during his career, earning a ring for each finger. You could call John Elway a comeback king. It’s debated as to weather he is the comeback king, but he led his team to victory in the final quarter of many games. One of those comebacks relied on Elway to lead the offense on a breathtaking 98-yard march known as “The Drive.”

I continue to adapt to worsening situations. The pages of this blog exhibit the various techniques I have used and considered for typing. I plan to experiment with some alternative game controllers, though many are out of my price range. Video games might seem an unimportant hobby to be so concerned about, but for me, it is a gateway into another world.

It’s time for my comeback.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bypo-WhahYo