I’ve never been particularly athletically inclined. I did a little bit of basketball in middle school (I was terrible), the usual PE stuff in high school, and for a very brief period in college, some jogging and biking.
In high school though, I did discover and gravitate towards a certain group activity that in the 80’s was sort of a subcaste in terms of popularity strata, so far off the accepted social map as to be nearly clandestine (we gamed with a guy on the football team who the first day made me swear never to tell anybody he played -a secret I have upheld to his grave), and that was roleplaying games. First Dungeons and Dragons, the old gateway drug, then Cyberpunk, Rifts, Shadowrun, and Vampire: The Masquerade.
In college I ‘graduated’ from playing games to running them. I ran a West End Star Wars game for about two years, and I truly believe that this past time was instrumental in my development as a writer.
There’s something about tabletop roleplaying that develops the storytelling ‘muscle.’ It’s not just a buncha guys and gals huddling over a table snickering about elves. I really believe it’s a re-enactment of the primal form of human entertainment; sitting around in a group, telling stories to each other. Now we’ve got lightbulbs instead of a fire, and we chow on cylinders of Pringles and Diet Coke (though in my heyday it was Captain Morgan’s rum) instead of smilodon meat and fermented fruit juice (well, in some circles, that probably hasn’t changed much).
Roleplaying games sharpen the mind, quicken the pulse, and they’re a riot. Best of all, a tabletop game can’t be done alone, which dodges a troubling trend in entertainment geared towards youth. I love video games. As a multiple-kid-parent with a full time job and a burgeoning writing career, plug and play has been a godsend in terms of my own personal relaxation. I even worked in the video games industry for a little while. However, despite the interactive gaming tagline, you’re basically just staring at a screen for hours on end. The anonymity allows a lot of unsupervised, underage kids to spew a lot of horrendous garbage they would never dare say to a person whose eyes they could look into, and conversely, rather than teaching a kid to deal with somebody they might encounter in life who doesn’t have any social skills for whatever reason, you can just mute the little a-holes. Again, kind of foments universal disconnect rather than advancing the whole brotherhood of man concept.
But then at the beginning of this year, a friend of mine coaxed me back into rpging (D&D specifically) at the Local Gaming Store, and it’s been a revelation. Much more satisfying than vegging out to GTA (though I still do that too when I have the time).
Anyway, then Extra Life came along. As I mentioned, I have never been athletically inclined. I don’t run unless I’m being pursued or chasing down one of my toddlers, so I’ve watched the charity marathons some of my friends participate in a bit wistfully. I’d like to do something like that, I’m sure they’re having fun doing it, but it’s just not in my wheelhouse.
But this is.
Here’s the nitty gritty, straight from the mouth of the Extra Life bot -
“My local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents to name just a few.
On October 25, 2014, I’ll be participating in this huge worldwide celebration of the social impact of gamers of all kinds from video games to board games and tabletop RPG’s! It’s my sincere hope that you’ll find it in your heart to support my efforts with a monthly pledge or one-time gift that will go directly to my hospital.
Your donation is tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids.
I need your help to reach my goal. Please make a safe, easy donation online today. Click the “Support This Participant” button on this page to get started. Thank you so much for supporting my efforts!”
My friend and I will be participating in a 24-hour marathon session of the new fifth editions of Dungeons and Dragons this October the 24th at a local gaming store, JJ’s Gaming Lounge in Chatsworth. It’s a mad little endeavor that I hope will raise awareness of the heinous problems the less economically fortunate and infirm children of our country face daily when it comes to finding the affordable healthcare many people with more stable lives take for granted.
I’m blessed that my own kids are healthy and that the safety net of a medical plan is there for them if they need it. I want to show that gratitude now by giving back in a small way. My chosen charity is the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, altruistic folks who can always use a helping hand helping others. I believe the D&D team for Extra Life has already pledged something over one million dollars total, so it’s not just a lark.
Please, if you have the means and are so inclined, catch the link below for a similar version of what I just posted here and the more-important donation button.