CURCIO’S CORNER: Don’t know what we had until it was gone

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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It’s only been a few weeks since sports across the board have been effectively shut down and I’m already feeling the effects.

So much so that I found myself on Twitter trying to find out more information about a “game” to be played between the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators and the South Carolina Stingrays.

It’s actually a simulation on NHL 20, a video game, but believe it or not as many as 78 people tuned into the broadcast at some point on Twitch.

I learned through the game chat sometimes the Gladiators’ own announcers would call the game instead of the NHL 20 game broadcast. During the game, one Atlanta broadcaster fielded questions from people (including two from myself).

Yes, it may come as a shock to some (unless you have had to watch “Ryan’s World”), but there is a plethora of videos of people playing video games which people watch all the time.

Without sports of any kind, it’s sad to say, but I may have to tune in to that and more like it.

I was running across TV a few months ago and saw American football being played with actual commentators but something did not look right about it.

I realized it was a video game: the Simulation Football League.

The Carolina Skyhawks, billed out of Charlotte, play in the SFL, a league which has run for 13 seasons.

Games are actually broadcast on the Eleven Sports Network, available on DirecTV (and other places, I’m guessing), using real-life commentators.

I know it may be hard times when one looks forward to things like that. but that’s kind of how it is right now.

There was an arcade game many years ago called “Cyberball” which was a six-quarter football game using robots to play the game.

It was futuristic for its time but now I’m wondering if the cyber versions of the sports above just may be what the eventual future of sports entertainment will be.

We already have e-games as a sports with arenas filling around the world to watch teams of “athletes” compete in games from League of Legends and more.

Colleges are now offering e-sports scholarships as well.

In the past, I have always enjoyed some of the buildup to the real NFL Super Bowl by watching a group of players in a tournament format play in the Madden Bowl. The NFL endorsed much of those games and now has their own competition annually.

Not to be undone, the National Hockey League also had game tournaments featuring the latest Electronic Arts game version of NHL. It appeals to both the sports fan and the gamer in me.

Hopefully when all of this finally clears up and we can all go back to our regular versions of life, sports will not be hurt at the box offices and ticket gates.

While for most of us, sports will also be about getting outdoors or out in public, perhaps the future of sports is online, the electronic, the computer.

Only thing I can say about that is this; my PS4 will never give me a concussion playing Madden or NHL.

Unless I throw my controller and it bounces back hitting me in the head…again.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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