3 things I gained by playing games during COVID-19 – by DieHardBirdie

Abbe "DieHardBirdie" Borg

This article is part of “Pro Player Perspectives” an ongoing series of articles written by pro players, coaches, and esports talent.

At 78-years-old, Abbe “DiehardBirdie” Borg, is the world’s oldest esports champion, having won the Seniors CS:GO tournament at DreamHack Summer 2019.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic is not an easy task and it can take a toll on one’s health, especially mental health. Staying healthy should be the top priority for all of us during this time, especially for me and my fellow senior citizens.

But I’ve learned that there are a lot of activities you can do to keep your physical and mental health in top shape.

For me, being a pro-gamer at 78 years of age has its benefits. I have been playing games consistently for the past few years as training for tournaments. And recently, I even started my own Twitch channel where you can see me play Counter-strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Gaming has been very important in keeping me mentally alert and active especially during this quarantine.

Credit: DieHardBirdie

In fact, I can confidently say that gaming during this quarantine period has improved my life in at least three different ways:

Better mental alertness

I have been playing video games for a few years now. Playing games has been my daily exercise and it keeps me mentally active. As a gamer, I needed to improve my skills with daily training. Even though I might be older than most gamers today, I wanted to prove that my age does not stop me from improving my skills and that I can be as good as the younger players. I have a lot of free time under quarantine and I spend it with my family while playing games. It makes me productive as it improves my gaming skills.

As I play games, it improves my vision, my strategic thinking, and my reflexes. My vision gets better as I improve on hitting targets. I can plan strategies with every new round and my reflexes get quicker as I dodge enemies. However, there must be a balance. Playing too much can also be bad for your health. Too much screen time might harm your eyesight too.

Credit: DieHardBirdie

Better coordination and communication skills

This is one of the benefits of playing games: your hand-eye coordination gets better.

It enhances not only my physical skills but also my mental skills. My typing skills get better with my training. I think it’s also important to enjoy what you are doing so that you won’t feel too pressured and too tired in doing it whether you play games or other activities.

Playing games has improved my communication skills too. You can play esports alone or as a team but communicating with others is an important skill.

When I stream on Twitch, I play alone but I still communicate with the viewers. I think that better communication skills help you plan a better strategy and coordinate with your teammates. Communicating properly is important in life, not just in playing games. You can properly convey your feelings and messages through better communication. We can check up on our family and friends and talk with them to help ease the loneliness as we face this pandemic.

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Better mental health and better relationships

COVID-19 has redefined our lives. Due to the lockdown, there has been a rise in the number of people experiencing anxiety and depression. I think that it is normal for us to feel anxious especially as we face COVID-19 together. There are people who were separated from their families and friends and loneliness can easily trigger anxiety.

One of the things that made me feel better during this lockdown is that I get to spend more time with my family. I get to have more bonding time with my children and grandchildren and I get to play games with them. I have been an advocate of introducing esports to my fellow senior citizens but I also encourage my family to join me to play games. Right now, I am teaching my children how to play Counter-strike and I am also learning other games that I play with my tween granddaughter. I am having so much fun and I get to create more memories with my loved ones.

Playing games has been a way for me and my family to bond during this quarantine. As I get to bond with my family more, I forget about being lonely and being anxious. It gives me joy to spend time doing something I like with my loved ones.

I feel that it’s important to have a balance in life and I don’t want to exceed four hours of gaming in a day at my age. There are other ways to bond with your family like cooking and eating together or watching movies together. It might ease your loneliness and anxiety and improve your mental health when you could go through this challenging period together. I like taking walks every day and I play with my grandchildren since I have the fortune of being with them right now. I highly encourage all of you to do the same.

Credit: DieHardBirdie

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