By Mike Crane
I hope the readers who are not familiar with American professional football will make an association with international soccer (or what the rest of the world calls football). The emotions and conditions will probably be similar.
Well, the calendar says it is December 3, 2012, and this is the morning after my wife and I attended a football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles in Dallas. We have always been Cowboy fans and, knowing our attachment to the team, our daughter gave us bus, hotel, and game tickets as a Christmas present. Although we have been life-long fans of the ‘Boys on radio and TV, we had never attended a Cowboy game in person until last night.
Our daughter thought we would enjoy seeing the new stadium, which is described as the largest domed stadium in the world. (You can Google “Cowboys stadium” if you are interested.) Sure enough, it was a truly awesome building. Unfortunately, we had to walk to get to it, around it, and inside it. Like a distant mountain, it appeared to be closer than it actually was. After a day of shopping in the Galleria, walking great distances proved to be a challenge. Nevertheless, we did it and we enjoyed seeing our team win.
We arrived home at 3:30 this morning and went to bed immediately. When we awoke, we took hot baths in Epsom salts to untie the knots in our legs and relieve the pain in our backs and feet. While soaking in the tub, I began to compare the professional football game with a solo wargame experience.
A Cowboys game takes place in Dallas approximately every other weekend during the fall and early winter. A solo wargame can take place any day of the year — morning, noon, or night. It is always solo wargaming season.
The Cowboys game nearest us will be in the super stadium at Dallas—190 miles away. My solo wargames take place on top of the bed in my bedroom or in one of the guest rooms down the hall. If I set up a game in a guest room, the setup may be left in place for two or three days. This is especially helpful when I play a game and write up an article afterward. The solo wargame is much more convenient.
Going to a Cowboys game requires a bus (I don’t like to drive in Dallas), a hotel room, food, and shopping money. A solo wargame requires rules, dice, figures, a board and some spare time. All of the wargaming objects are reusable.
The Cowboys game I attended involved approximately 100 players on opposing teams, 50 scantily clad cheerleaders, about 125 drummers and bagpipers, and 80,000 rabid fans. The solo wargame requires only one person — me. (Well, a tolerant wife might be included in this equation also.)
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS
Except for the purchase of a large diet soda pop and the resulting trip to the men’s room, nothing that happened at the football game was within my control. The noise level was unimaginable. The rap music (?) that was played for 45 minutes before the game created a tremendous headache that is slowly going away. Take heed! A good pair of ear plugs is definitely a must! On the other hand, in a solo wargame everything is within my control: rules, maps, terrain, figures, music, etc. My wife says she thinks I enjoy preparing for games more than playing them because I will spend hundreds of hours reading, collecting, and painting compared to spending a few hours actually playing. She is probably right.
I will always be a Cowboys fan, even when they don’t win, but I can say I have been to the super dome and seen the elephant. At my age, once is probably enough. But, now I am convinced more than ever that solo wargaming is definitely the best of all possible pastimes for me!