A Wii Bit Better Life

I have decided I don’t need a life coach. I have been wasting time reading all those self-help motivational books, too. I don’t even need praise from my peers regarding what a good job I do on a day to day basis.

All I really needed, for all these years of self-doubt and hypercritical introspection, was the Wii.

Yes, that’s right. I needed those two Asian men in the funny car to approach my door, bow, and say, “Wii would like to play.”

Christmas 2010 will, indeed, be a landmark in my personal and physical growth. Christmas 2010 will forever stand for the time when I learned best how to set boundaries for my children, and how to say yes to me.

Christmas 2010 brought a Wii bit of joy and hope into my life.

If you ever watch me play, you might be inclined to question these statements. Rest assured, dear friends, I have a new Wii lease on life. My horizons have been broadened a Wii bit.

I will admit that at first, I was skeptical. Any rectangular box that, when unwrapped, induces the high-pitched squeals requiring medicinal treatment for my ears cannot be good. It is, however, good for that thing we call FAMILY.

The children saw that we had finally become a ‘real’ family who could now fully appreciate game night. I am certain they envisioned going to school and rubbing their dominant arms.

“Yep,” they would say with a Barney Fife sniff and swagger. “Got a Wii arm.”

The skeptical part of me worried about our aged television and the intricacies of electronic connections. And what about the dangers of leading sedentary, unhealthy lives in front of video games?

I had nothing to fear. My children must have been taking Master’s level technology courses behind my back because our new gaming system was completely assembled and in perfect working order … in ten minutes … by my twelve-year-old. And watching the three of them play was nothing short of amazing. Winded, sweating, they turned to me. I was the only one holding the couch down.

I can still remember how the strap felt as I tightened it around my right wrist. How foreign the remote felt in my hand. All those buttons, the lights and sounds, the odd and strangely inviting vibration it made against my palm as I moved the pointer finger over the different channels now posted on my television screen.

And then, I played.

I used wide motions, believing that the more realistic my movements were to actual tennis or bowling, the better my scores would be. What grace! What form! What follow-through! The pros would be envious, asking me for lessons on stance.

My children did that rolling of the eyes thing.

“Amateur,” I heard them mutter.

But no matter. I discovered that the more I played, the better it got. Muscles that had been knotted in my neck for weeks finally relaxed. I was 39 years old and I was having fun!

After the initial burst of fun, though, I learned I wanted more. I wanted to win. I had tasted the sweet nectar only found in Wii-dom and I was hooked!

Enter Lesson #1.

Good sportsmanship is essential, even when the opponent is a small cartoon-like figure with a name like Bob or Lucas, whose head is too big for his strange little body, and who will never need therapy for all those insulting things we scream at him.

I actually learned this lesson from Emily. She adores Wii tennis. From ready position, she watches the ball, gives a little grunt while simultaneously swinging the remote. It even sounds like she is playing tennis because of the realistic thwack her on-screen racquet makes against the little ball. The Wii crowd gets into it, responding with sighs of Oh! And Ah!. They even cheer and moan on cue.

Soon, after her arm got tired and she missed, I heard her verbal responses.

“I hate you!” she cried.

“Oh, Emily! Honey, that is not such a very good thing to say. See, the thing about good sportsmanship is that you can be happy for yourself when you win, but just as happy for your opponent if they win. You can’t be a winner all the time. Sometimes you have to concede to someone else winning. It’s all about having fun while playing the game.”

I thought I was scoring big-time Mom Points here, but I just got The Look, and then she turned back to the screen. This happened, of course, before I actually got to play. In the end, I was giving myself The Look and took a mental note to only play tennis when the children weren’t there to hear me hurl insults at the inanimate objects on the screen.

Enter Lesson #2.

A new gaming system is really all about leverage. See, it is simply one more thing I can take away when the children are fighting, or when they don’t take care of their room-cleaning responsibility, or when I think it is my turn to play and they don’t do anything in particular to annoy me. The Wii is a mighty power stick that I wield with a sneer in triumph.

Enter Lesson #3.

The Wii is good for positive personal ego-stroking. On Wii Sports, there is a little square on the screen I can push for Fitness. It takes multiple disciplines and puts me through the paces of several mini-games. I receive a score at the end, which denotes my Wii Fitness Age. I’m 28. My body screamed 39!, but my real age is 28. The Wii told me so. I had to share.

“Hey, Hanson, guess what? My Wii fitness age is 28. Can you believe it?! 28!”

“Wow, that’s good, Mom,” he said, looking up at me from his book. “That’s like, what, half your age?”

If I’m nearly 60! I guess it takes gobs of wisdom to realize the importance of a Wii age that is 11 years younger than real life.

Enter Lesson # 4

The real ‘exercise’ part comes with the actual victory dance at the end of each game. And, yes, this will secure The Look, that Rolling-Of-The-Eyes Thing, and a quick grounding for all children involved. Oh, but victory is sweet.

No, I don’t need a life coach. I’ll give the motivational books to Goodwill for all those sad, incomplete people who do not have Wiis.

I might, however, need to look for a WAA group. (Wii Addicts Anonymous).


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