Humans have participated in tests of bravery and skill throughout history. Sometimes this was to impress a possible mate, sometimes it was to acquire prestige or perhaps the leadership position of that particular group. No matter the reason, it was always a stirring sight.
Among the first, most renowned challenges were the Olympics where the best athletes of the day competed amongst themselves. Their prize? Prestige and a laurel crown. Although women were banned from the spectator stands (the games were dedicated to the male god, Zeus), you can be sure that these prime athletes caught many a feminine eye.
In the medieval age, knights held Tourneys both to proclaim their knightly skills and to earn prizes. Their skills were battle-oriented and what fair maiden wouldn’t want a man with the skills to protect her?
Today we have many organized sports both professional and amateur. My favorite is hockey (I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan). Now there’s a sport full of break neck speed and huge amounts of testosterone. So it seemed reasonable that when I needed a sport to display on the holovision in a bar, I’d choose something like hockey.
Well, the keyword is something :D This particular story is a futuristic so I let my mind take elements of hockey and combine it with future tech to create a game that I’ve so far left unnamed. The only thing I named was a team playing it – Jet Sliders. Why? Because the game isn’t important to the story, only to the culture of that time and place. It takes a bare mention before it’s relegated to the background.
Huh? I can hear you asking. Well, the answer is simple. I grew up with a Dad who mastered the art of watching two football games on TV while listening to another on the radio. No joke. It was the holy hours of Sunday afternoons and woe to the person who interrupted with anything less that a lethal injury.
While I loved my Dad, I don’t find sitting in front of a TV for hours watching other men play a game all that heroic. And the heroes in my stories might watch an occasional game but they’re not the sort to be ‘addicted’ to it. They’re more the sort who will PLAY the game, testing themselves, their skills, their strengths.
Heroes are ‘doers’. Like the Olympic champions or medieval knights, they go after the prize, whatever it may be. That’s what sets them apart from other men. That’s what makes them heroes.