Thursday, March 29, 2012

Geek Friendly Athletics

Ok, so most geeks really aren't into sports.  If you're one of those geeks that actually really loves sports--fantastic!  More power to you!  Now, if you're like one of those other geeks who isn't so much into sports I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on sports and athletics you may enjoy.

Why should I care about athletics?
Well, as a Latter Day Saint (or intelligent non-LDS geek) you may want to take care of your body.  Our bodies are gifts from our Heavenly Father that he's allowing us to borrow right now.  This time on earth is a time for us to be tested and part of that is what we do with our bodies.  This is why Mormons don't get crazy piercings or tattoos.  (Though, to be honest, if I wasn't LDS I'd probably get some tattoos.  Really, I think some of them are beautiful.  Just sayin'.)  That also means that we should try to take care of our bodies as well.  Eating right and regular exercise.

The thing about exercise is that it's boring.  I have to have a buddy with me to really keep myself motivated for exercise.  The same could also be said for some mainstream sports and athletics.  Baseball, Soccer, and Football can be hard for some of us geeks to watch because of a lot of reasons.  It could be we don't share interests with the players or other members of the audience.  It could be we don't have a team we feel connected to.  Whatever the reason I've come up with some athletics that I think would be easier for geeks to find interest in.

Martial Arts
Martial Arts is always a great place to start for geek friendly athletics.  The heroes of comic books and other geeky literature tend to be martial artists.  Martial Arts is more exciting to watch then other competitions.  From a geek perspective, you could train yourself to actually become a hero you'd like to be instead of playing one on World of Warcraft or some tabletop role playing game.  How cool would it be to actually be able to throw some punches in addition to playing a monk in Dungeons and Dragons?  Here are some martial arts to consider.

Kendo is the Japanese form of fencing.  You use kattanas (samurai swords) for one man competitions and bokens (bamboo swords) for duels and practice.  Though it doesn't have real world practicality in self defense, it's a very geek friendly form of athletics.  Finding a dojo and sensei can be hard though.

Muay-Thai Kickboxing is the Thai form of kick boxing.  An extremely good way to get in shape and very practical in self defense.  Anyone that's seen any of the Tony Jaa movies can see why this appeals to geeks.

Fencing is sword fighting.  If you decide to try this out I'd recommend saber fencing.  Saber fencing you can slash and stab.  In the other forms of fencing you're only allowed to stab.  Again, real world practicality isn't present here but still a fun sport to be involved in.

The caber toss.
Highland Games
What could be more geek friendly then highlander games?  No, I'm not talking about cutting each other's heads off with swords.  I'm talking about the traditional festivals that celebrate Scottish and Celtic heritage.  Part of the games are what is called the Heavy Events.  The heavy events involves a lot of throwing of heavy objects.  It seems like it would require some serious strength training to prepare for but with the Celtic aspect of the celebration, it sure looks like it would be fun!  Plus, you get to wear a kilt!

Do I really need to explain why this would appeal to geeks?  You get to shoot a bow and arrow for crying out loud!  It may not require much in the way of aerobics but it does require some strength.

Outdoor Athletics and Snow Sports
Rock climbing is a great way to build strength and is really fun.  Hiking has a broad range of difficulty levels and is always a good workout.  Snow Sports like skiing or snowboarding build strength in the legs and can be good exercise.  Any geek that loves the landscapes of Skyrim will appreciate the views that come from reaching heights on the mountainside.

Leaving the Comfort Zone
A lot of the stereotypical geeks often have a comfort zone they just don't want to leave.  They don't want to meet new people.  They already know that they can't even connect with a lot of these sporty people in the first place.  They may connect athletics and sports to bad gym experiences growing up in elementary school.

The thing is, there are a ton more athletics and sports not mentioned here I think a lot of geeks can learn to enjoy.  What you get out of athletics and sports may mean simply having an open mind and being brave enough to walk outside your comfort zone.  Trust me, you may be surprised as to who you meet.
Here is a picture of me and my friend Charles aka Chuck.  I met Chuck through my roommate when he was down in Tempe, Arizona for clinicals for his nursing degree.  When I first met Chuck I thought he was the typical jock.  I heard him talking about sports and didn't think we'd have much to talk about.  Still, I decided to try and get to know him and showed him my artwork.  I discovered Chuck liked comic books!  This athletic guy loved a lot of the Marvel comics that I did--and in some ways more so.  Since that point we became really good friends.

Athletics may seem like the last place you'd think to make new friends or find a new interest.  Don't let that stop you from trying something new.  After all, why only pretend to be a warrior on the computer screen when you can also be one in real life?


Photo Credits


  1. Some other geeky exercises that I've tried over the years:

    Capoeira - Brazilian marshal arts style
    Dance Dance Revolution - definitely gets my heart pumping
    Wii Fit - Actually a fun way to exercise

    1. Those last two are totally geeky athletics. I can't believe I forgot about them.

    2. Not to mention ping pong and LARPING. Running through a forest in heavy army and waving around a fake sword has to count.

  2. Oh come on Andrew! The Wii is a glorified Etch-A-Sketch. Medical professionals say that while it raises the heart rate, it doesn't necessarily maintain a level of movement sufficient enough to classify as an aerobic workout. Now larping, on the other hand, that's a workout. You try to charge around a field wearing furs and leathers swinging a sword made out of PVC and couch cushions. That's a workout!

    1. Wii is not a glorified Etch-A-Sketch. I do not sweat while using the Etch-A-Sketch. Of course, for this geek, getting up and walking downstairs can be exercise in and of itself.

      And these so-called "medical professionals" must be paid off by Microsoft and endorse the Kinect.

    2. LARPing would be both a mental and a physical workout for me. The mental part is to keep my sanity from going to shreds. ;)

  3. I could only LARP if I and everyone around me had Grade A costumes and props. It would have to be a really authentic experience.