Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't Feed the Animals

I'm taking a quick break in between game AP posts just to throw some photos up from Dragonflight XXXI.

This WAS my first convention, after all, so I'm not sure what exactly I expected. Certainly, I expected a cross-section of humanity. I expected caucasian folks to be well represented, despite Seattle having equal or better percentages of diversity compared to the rest of the country. For whatever reason, playing imaginary games or painting miniature soldiers or playing incredibly complex and strategic board games just seems to be kind of a "white person thang." Blame the Germans, I guess...

On the other hand I was a little surprised and miffed at the lack of nutrition on display (at least the first couple days...the dudes in the "Story Lounge" actually had access to many fruits and vegies...in addition to Doritos and pretzels). Personally, I don't tend to be a big snacker, and while I drink like a fiend (champaign cocktail as I type), I don't drink soda pop. At least they had a lot of free water at the con.

The Hilton was kind enough to set up a buffet table for the convention-goers...well, "kind" may not be the right word, as it wasn't gratis, the gamers having to pay for anything they wanted off the table. By Day 3, there was only one thing sold off the menu:

On the other hand, there was still plenty of fruit and salad sitting un-touched, looking all sad and lonely. Please! Eat me!

Anyway...plenty of people brought there own coolers full of food (very smart), and many of said coolers were full of snacks of the "healthy" variety (even smarter). However, I don't recall seeing any of these coolers at the RPG tables, instead only seeing them around the board game and war gaming rooms.

What gives? No wonder role-players are a "dying breed!"

I know, I know...it is damn hard to wrench oneself away from the gaming table when the action is going on, the descriptions flying fast, the dice rolling hot in your hands. You still want energy during a two or four or six hour gaming session, and who wants to take the time to whip up some pombasos or a leafy green salad, when you can rip into a bag of chips and pop the top off a cool one. Besides when I was fourteen I could live off Doritos and Coke. Hell, in college I was regularly eating a two Big Mac lunch and I was thin as a rail!

But you know what? You don't stay 19 or 20 forever...certainly not 14 or 15. Longevity in gaming is just like longevity anywhere else...it takes a little effort, and generally involves eating better, exercising moderately, and getting enough rest. Really, that's it. Sure we may all end up at that "Big Gaming Table in the Sky" once we're dead and buried and not care...but our friends who we leave behind are sure gonna' miss us. Might as well try to stick around a little bit, huh? If only for them? And our non-gamer family members?

The #1 cause of death in the U.S. is from preventable heart failure. "Preventable" because it's caused by poor diet coupled with lack of exercise. #1 folks. More than smoking or drunk driving or drug over-doses or shooting deaths. More than ALL cancers added together!

PREVENTABLE heart disease.

Anyway (as I order my 2nd cocktail and start working on a leafy green salad...no dressing)...anyway, I'm not advocating any gamer...skinny or not...try to change how they look or act to appeal to anyone else's sense of "normalcy." Many gamers are already a leg-up on the average Joe as far as thinking "outside the box" and if there's anything we should ALL work towards (gamer and non-) it's individual authenticity. Not just "bucking the system" but truly "being true to oneself." HOWEVER, I do think that WE, smart little gamers that we are, should be able to exercise healthy choices for our own damn health. And we can set an example for our fellow gamers simply by making healthy choices for ourselves.

[I just cancelled the 2nd cocktail...I didn't really need it]

; )


  1. Before our weekly games, I chop up some veg (carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, etc) and put it all in a big plastic box to put out on the table as we play.

    I've found that at least part of the gamer's attraction to junk food is how handy it is, and if you can prepare healthier food so it's just as handy, then the average gamer will happily munch away at the greens instead.

    It's got to the point now where if I don't bring the rabbit food, I get complaints. ;)

  2. JB, I've been musing on the deaths of gaming legends like Gygax, Arneson, and others (Erick Wujcik included, but he died from pancreatic cancer). Roleplaying is a mostly sedentary form of recreation, I think we can all pretty much agree on that. So is there a connection between the relatively early deaths of these older gaming icons and the passive recreation of gaming? Spending a lot of time sitting around a table and eating while playing an imagination-based game does not work out the body much. I'm not trying to denegrate the hobby, but we do need balance, i.e. remembering to get some exercise for the body after we exercise the imagination at the gaming table!

  3. I've started bringing cherry tomatoes and grapes to the gaming table. No juicy mess, no sticky mess either. And healthier.

  4. Every month we meet it is required that players bring a food item to share that does not come pre-packed in a bag. I'm working hard to eliminate pop as well...

  5. Hey, folks, I think all these things are to the good. I know I have a tendency to sound preachy (probably because I AM preachy), but really I was just making an observation of my con experience.

    When I was a kid, my father insisted that I needed to do "sort sort of sport" pretty much two season out of the year. And when he thought I'd been cooped up too long, he'd make me go for a run around the neighborhood. Looking back now, I really appreciate these things, and wish I was more disciplined (now) about my exercise regime. I don't think being a gamer (even a dedicated, obsessive-compulsive gamer and bookworm) precludes being in good health. Or at least average health. It certainly doesn't have to be "poor health with one foot in the grave." Just needs a little thought is all.

    : )

  6. Years back during our long every other weekend (sat or sun) D&D games we used to break for an hour of football or some other sport in the driveway to keep the juices flowing. As we became older that dwindled away, now we eat dinner at the start of the game and that's usually take-out folks bring with them since we game after work now. I wonder how we used to fit 10-12 players around the same table?