The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering including video gaming in the 2020 Olympics.
My first reaction was, that’s ridiculous. Almost as daft as cream cracker eating as a competitive sport. But then I reflected.
When is change about growth, modernisation and progression, recognising the demands of a changing world, and when is it a retrograde step, challenging history and values from a time gone by? Every change it could be argued comes with an upside and a downside. Every change from the invention of the wheel, through the Industrial Revolution right up to the advent of social media.
When is change almost for change’s sake? Because changing shows that we’re doing something? We’re active. Moving.
In organisations we move the deckchairs constantly. New teams, new roles, changed reporting, changed priorities, redundancies. All intended to respond to the market, to customer needs or to the call of efficiency. Yet often these changes hark back to methods or structures discarded at a previous evolution. Growth in organisations and in society it seems is more of a spiral, moving forward, yes, but circling back over old ground at the same time.
It seems change, growth, movement are a deeply intrinsic human need. We seem incapable of just standing still. But where and how we grow seems more and more to be less considered, less thoughtful, as the modern world evolves. The capacity and capability for change, seems to be driven increasingly from the need for change itself, rather than from a considered view of how and where to evolve to a markedly better place. We seem addicted to the idea that things just have to be different. It’s the movement that counts more than the destination. This in turn seems to raise the profile of temporary. Places that exist just as staging posts from one change to the next. Temporary, transitional states. Fads.
I wonder if the consideration of rows of professional e-sport players, sitting at terminals, playing each other at a computer game, watched by crowds, is more a response of this modern need to change, than a true enhancement of the sporting ideals conceived by the Olympic founders?
It seems to me that, if it gets the go ahead, it would be merely a temporary nod to a changing world, probably gone and forgotten within one or two games, replaced perhaps by insect eating or another up and coming fad.
I wonder what happens to us should we ever be unable to change? If we become stuck? When growth stops being possible because only one company runs everything and it is all optimised to meet every human need?
Then, we probably wear virtual reality headsets which create imaginary change so that our intrinsic need for growth is met. And that will be the only Olympic event.