The other day, I was sitting on the couch, watching my current streaming fix (Silent Witness, a British show on Acorn, worthy of the watch) I had my electric guitar, and I was running through some scales and picking exercises, and I had a revelation.
There are many activities that to gain proficiency and mastery of, requires a lot of practice. The old adage:
Practice makes perfect
I can’t stress how true this is. What is the difference between a weekend duffer and a player on the PGA tour? Is it natural skill? Is it some gift from God?
Perhaps there is some of that.
But, more important is the fact that a pro golfer likely plays 4 or 5 games a week, and spends countless additional hours at the driving range. Getting comfortable with the tools (clubs) and playing the courses they play on tour. Learn every hole, every trap, know cold distances from landmarks to the pin. Know enough about the course to know where they place the pin. To have a caddy who is your partner, like the navigator in a rally car team, reading out the next turn or wrinkle of the course.
You get this good by putting in the hard work and hours.
In the heyday of my guitar playing, while I was in college, guitar was my escape, and I probably practiced 2+ hours per day, religiously. And I had decent chops. I was no Yngwie, but I had speed, I knew scales, I could alternate pick, I was reasonably fast. I felt that if I could put more time in, I might have been able to play in a gigging band.
But that was 30+ years ago, and I drifted away, and I am lucky to play for an hour a week at this time. My skills are reflected in my rustiness. I will never get back to my peak.
The Gamer Connection
There are several levels of commitment to gaming. You could be a casual player, fumbling through the game. Or you can spend a lot of time, learning the maps, features, and capabilities. How many times have I completed the Doom games and the Quake games? Way way too many. If I add in all the mega hours I put in playing deathmatch, and LAN parties, well, it was a significant chunk.
My recent passion of streaming game speed runners leads me to think I was a mere piker, a n00b in the parlance. I don’t care, I am having fun.
The image is a grab from Quake II, a game that I play a lot, so much that my gamer tag, SweatySpice was on the top 1000 leaderboard for more than a decade. Good times.