Game on: Teachers benefit from playing video games

Game+on%3A+Teachers+benefit+from+playing+video+games

By Ben Reed, Staff Reporter

Ramping off the side of the arena, Biology teacher Derek Bosworth accelerates his car forward driving straight into the giant soccer ball. The ball flies forward into the goal just as time expires winning the “Rocket League” match. Lots of teachers play video games for various reasons and have found them beneficial as they play through quarantine and the virtual setting. 

         For math teacher David Rubert, video games were an interest that started when he was younger. Rubert enjoys role-playing games like Final Fantasy and began gaming on console in 2001. The games helped teach him how to strategize and think outside of the box. 

         “I would end up repeating the games often and trying to do things better,” Rubert said. “It became that sort of thing, I want to play it again, but let me try this this time and problem solving differently or doing things more efficiently the next time around.”

         Different people enjoy video games for different reasons. For language and composition teacher Susan Gregory, games serve as a leisure activity.

         “For me it’s very calming because the game of choice for me is ‘GardenScapes’,” Gregory said. “When it is warm out in the summer and in the spring and in the fall, that’s where I am in my spare time, in my garden. So when it’s cold out, it’s fun for me to pretend that I’m working in a garden even though it is a game.”

         Bosworth has other motives for gaming. After first starting to play in elementary school, through college he played competitively on an esports team at ElizabethTown College. Bosworth participated in competitions for games like “Rocket League” and “League of Legends”.

         “It was like any other sport, we had mandatory hours that we had to play. So whenever I did play the game, I was playing because I had to,” Bosworth said.

         While gaming is not necessarily good for one’s health, there are still benefits to playing. Physics and computer science teacher Edward Sharick explained that he sees video games as beneficial as long as they are being played with other people. He explained that when played with friends, they are a good way to bond. However, when played alone, they can have a negative impact.

         “They can be very harmful to a person in terms of how much time they spend playing it but also in terms of emotional well-being,” Sharick said. “If you’re not interacting with people for that long, I think it can be harmful if used in the wrong way.”

         Math and computer science teacher Kimberly McPhillips gave an example of how video games help her keep in touch with others across long distances and strengthen relationships.

         “I’ve recently been reconnecting with my siblings who live in New York, so they’re kind of far away from me.” McPhillips said. “I’ve been playing games with them and talking to them on discord and it feels like a connection that I haven’t had in a while.”

         Bosworth also thought that social interactions are important for gaming, saying that any game can be fun if played with friends. According to Rubert, video games can have other positive impacts too.

         “I think for some people it’s a way to manage stress. It’s a way to be successful,” Rubert said. ““Getting that opportunity to retry missions or retry things in a different way to solve the problem I think in a way helps people solve problems differently in life.”

         Rubert also explained that video games can improve someone’s mental health and self-esteem. 

         “If you have a good round of a video game that can give you the emotional build up you might need to feel good about yourself at least in one aspect of your life,” Rubert said.

         During the lockdown for COVID-19, most people found themselves with more free time than usual. Some teachers passed this time by gaming. Bosworth talked about the benefits of playing video games during the quarantine.

         “You couldn’t go out and hang out with friends,” Bosworth said. “So by getting on your computer and joining a discord call and playing these games with all your friends, it was basically like hanging out with them in real life, but in your room.” 

         Sharick had a similar opinion, saying that video games served as a place for social interactions since everyone was forced to stay at home through the lockdown.

         “I think it can be beneficial. I mean especially right now we don’t necessarily have the ability to go hang out with friends in person, but you can always hop online and have a game together,”  Sharick said. “So I think that that aspect of things can be very positive.”