By Jack | January 14, 2013
“GGGGGOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!” the announcer screams as your shot soars past the goalie’s outstretched arms and into the back of the net. Chaos erupts: you’re sprinting in circles, cheering excitedly, and doing dance moves that would otherwise only belong in a 6th grade dance.
Of course, it’s just another game of FIFA 13 on the Xbox. You didn’t actually kick the ball with your foot, in fact you didn’t do much more than tap the “B” button and wiggle your control stick a bit to give the ball some spin. And yet, it feels like so much more.
Because here at Ohio State, FIFA is not a game, it’s a way of life. Shouts of disappointment and loud jeering can be heard down the hallways at all times of day or night as Buckeyes live and die with each kick of the virtual ball. It’s more than a pastime… it’s an obsession.
Allow me to say quickly that I never played any FIFA games in high school. I was always more concerned with killing dragons in Skyrim, scoring touchdowns on Madden, or shooting terrorists on Call of Duty. But kicking a soccer ball? That sort of finesse-type video game was reserved for the soccer players at our high school, or the preppy kids of the richer districts near us.
So when I arrived at Ohio State, I was a bit overwhelmed by the constant FIFA-ing of my fellow dormsmen. Everybody here plays the game 24/7, they eat, sleep, and breathe FIFA. And by everybody I mean my roommate, my entire floor, the janitor, my professors, Urban Meyer, Gordon Gee, president Obama, God—well maybe not God, but still.
And so I became a student of this beautiful game, studying its intricacies and learning the strategies. FIFA was no longer a video game; it was an art form. The wide flat screen of the TV was the canvas, the buttons and sticks of the controller were my paintbrush, and I was the artist, painting my beautiful soccer game with the colors of Italy, Argentina, and Manchester United, among many others.
I’ve gotten pretty good, though I am in no way a master of the game. There are kids here who I honestly believe were born with the sole purpose of playing this game. They are wizards of the fake soccer realm, having no mercy for mortal men like me and you.
So I guess my advice to any prospective student of Ohio State is this: go buy FIFA. Play it. Love it. Because whether you like soccer or not, you will play this game in college, and you will like it. So save yourself the time and start practicing now, while you have time in high school, before you start losing mass amounts of money on bets.