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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan.25, 2005 / 15 Shevat, 5765

It really is only a (video) game

By Lenore Skenazy


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you like cartoons, maybe you should start watching more TV sports. The pros are all busy trying to become cartoon characters.

Or maybe the correct term is video game characters. Or cyborgs. Little digital guys on a screen whose moves are controlled by a 12-year-old with a joystick. Whatever the term is, that's what today's pros dream of becoming - the 21st century equivalent of making it to the Wheaties box. All of which would be fine, except for this: The athletes never stop auditioning.

You'll notice, says Rich Hanley, a football fanatic and head of the journalism and interactive communications program at Quinnipiac University, "The players tend to be very demonstrative, even when they make an innocuous play." This excess exuberance is calculated, Hanley believes, because the players know it sells.

"From college on up, they know exactly how to get on the ESPN highlight shows." They also know that video game makers scour those reels for crazy moves and big personalities to jazz up their games. "So the players are very much scripting themselves," says Hanley. "They know they have to do something outrageous."

That's why you see so much suspiciously telegenic hotdogging these days - players jumping, pumping or grabbing the pom-poms and doing a little dance.

Now maybe that really was spontaneous on Terrell Owens' part back in 2000. But Owens is equally famous for whipping out a Sharpie and signing a football in the end zone. (And then, brilliantly, passing it to his financial adviser. No need to pay him this year!) If that was spontaneous, I'm Joe Namath.

Joe Horn one-upped Owens by faking a cell-phone call after a 2003 touchdown. Obviously, he must have hidden the phone in the goalpost padding before the game. And just two weeks ago, Randy Moss of the Minnesota Vikings fake-mooned the crowd in Green Bay. Sure, he was fined $10,000, but that was money well-spent if his real goal was to ensure a cyber future. "I wouldn't be surprised to see that embedded in next year's video game," says Hanley.

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In this tail-wagging-the-dog sports world, video games are not only changing the way the players play but also the way the fans, uh, fan.

Some day, what goes down on any given Sunday (or Monday night) could be almost irrelevant to young fans that prefer the game on their own terms. Kids take for granted their cyber-given ability to make their own teams, pick their own plays and even choose "celebration" moves, like mooning.

As millions of fans play individualized versions of the game, the real game could fade away. Think that can't happen? Look at hockey! The league has been on strike this whole season, yet fans kept the game alive using cyber versions of the players. Who needs flesh and blood (emphasis on blood) anymore?

That's exactly what the players must be asking themselves as they jockey for pixilated posterity. As athletes turn themselves into caricatures, however, the sports world loses and so do we.

Game over.

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JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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