Calculator gamers long for love

Wednesday is team bonding. “UNITE OR DIE,” the shirts say. Thursday is a day to recognize specializations. Offense wears white, defense black, and even the outcast kickers wear their own orange “SPECIAL TEAMS” shirts. Finally Friday comes. Jersey day brings football fame to its peak, when star players, benchwarmers, and all of their girlfriends walk the halls side-by-side wearing uniforms that say one thing—it’s game day. If only one day could be spared for the calculator gamers. While Joe Cool is celebrated for his athletic prowess upon entering any classroom, in the corner of each one of these rooms sits an equally heroic figure. Despite being disapproved by numerous staff members, calculator gaming is still a craft practiced by the most dedicated athletes. Hours upon hours of practice, in and out of school, separate the elite from the casual gamers. This effort, however, is often overlooked by peers and teachers alike. “I’d just like respect,” said senior Zach Borg, a devoted Tetris player. “I’m putting in just as much time practicing and playing my sport as anyone else is.” The amount of time invested in calculator gaming is an issue that has been raised in many math classes. According to senior Felix Owusu, “Improvement in my gaming skills may be the only thing I get out of calculus. Unless you are planning on becoming a mathematician, calculus won’t really help you out too much in life. That’s why I game.” Gaming in class is an issue that some teachers admit to being sensitive about. It is often assumed that if a student is playing on their calculator, it means that they are not learning. Owusu disagrees with the notion that calculator games can’t be used for educational purposes. “Guess the Number is one of the best games, but it is educational,” he said. “You have to use math equations to figure out a number between one and a billion. It sounds stupid, but it can keep you busy for a good twenty minutes.” In addition to being neglected on a day to day basis, calculator gamers are also lacking in terms of funding and organization. Despite its popularity within the student body, gaming has never received the benefits that other sports receive. Without the financial support of Booster Club and various fundraisers, some current Ames High sports teams would have died out long ago. This support has encouraged improvement within these sports at the varsity level. Calculator gamers, however, have had no such luck. “I used to play Tetris a lot on my brother’s calculator, and I got pretty good,” sophomore Yeil Park said. “But I used up too much battery, and the calculator died the day of his trigonometry final. I haven’t played since.” Stories like Park’s make one wonder what could have been. Calculator gamers will likely never receive the same amount of attention given to their football counterparts. Nonetheless, their passion for their sport will endure any tests along the way, even if they never do get their day.