FIFA – the gift that keeps on giving

I love FIFA. I’ve put more time into playing FIFA games then probably any other activity – including sleep! I’ve had a tough time justifying that time spent to myself, let alone anyone else, but I think I’m finally able to…

For those of you living under a rock a sociable life, FIFA is the leading Soccer/Football simulation video game. It’s an annualised series so you can expect a new one with minor tweaks and improvements every year. It has single player ‘career’ modes where you can design and develop your own player or team, and you can play with friends or against randoms in online leagues.

As a Canadian growing up in the 90s, soccer wasn’t a big deal, but after moving across the pond to the UK in 2000, I had to get up to speed quickly as Football is a way of life over here. FIFA was the best way for me to learn.

Playing FIFA was (and still is!) a legitimate way to educate someone on all the biggest teams and players, not to mention the rules! It broke down barriers and helped me make friends at school, because like soccer, FIFA is a universal language for fans. I even started to like the real thing, and now follow the English Premiere League – I support Aston Villa, and keep a close eye on my late grandfather’s team, Tottenham Hotspur. Go Villains!

Things really got crazy at university. I was one of the few that had an Xbox and flat-screen setup in my dorm room, so anyone desperate for a game came over. We had serious sessions. Dozens of hours a week. There were competitions. Bets. Drinking games. Missed lectures. Some of the best friends I have today are directly attributed to my ability to provide and play FIFA.

But now I’m all grown up. Working hard Monday to Friday. Most of my friends no longer play FIFA. How can I continue to rationalise kicking a digital ball around?

My motivation to play has changed, for sure. But recently I’ve started to feel the benefits. It’s relaxing but still engaging. A lot of hobbies that are designed to relax the mind, actually make you apathetic – or at least, they do me. Playing FIFA is second nature to me so causes me no stress, but it keeps me switched-on – I still want to win, after all. I’m a big advocate for keeping the ol’ noggin occupied. Absence of thought is damaging so if I’m quiet or relaxing, I’m actually trying to free up space for a good think.

Sounds pretentious, I know, but FIFA is my go-to for a bit of me time. I can continue to strategise, improve and achieve in-game without any mental strain – allowing me time to ponder and unwind. It’s my meditation.

FIFA is something that has been a constant in my life for nearly 20 years and it means a lot to me. Makes me wonder what your ‘FIFA‘ is…

Let me know!

Best wishes y’all.

Sean

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