Some of my more jockish friends don't seem to realize that the geekiest thing I've ever seen is them managing their fantasy baseball rosters. Fantasy teams takes away any actual physical aspect of sports and adds math to it. I cannot think of anything nerdier than that. That's like adding interpretative dance to camping. Which brings us to a strange nerd/jock connection: two supposedly opposing impulses coming together in a marriage of mathematics and competition. Fantasy sports brings together the most analytical parts of the geek brain with a healthy dose of competitive douchiness (or douchitude). But the crossover does not end there: enter the Viking.
The Geek/Jock/Viking Venn Diagram
As you can see, it doesn't stop at fantasy sports, when you add Vikings to the mix all sorts of relationships start to emerge. Geek meets Viking at D&D, Viking and Jocks become the Minnesota Vikings, and all three meet at the cross roads of Heavy Metal. Heavy Metal combines Jock aggression with a Geek loner mentality and the mysticism of the Viking (thus the axes and dragons and chains and long flowing blond hair [mostly on guys]). The same type of rich fantasy life is at play in Dungeons & Dragons as in fantasy football as in listening to Iron Maiden.
Can you tell the difference between a character sheet and a team management screen?
Which one is the Dungeons & Dragons guide and which one is the heavy metal album?
While not exactly identical, they do have striking similarities.
So, what's the allure? Perhaps there's a Viking in all of us, a tiny Viking living inside each and every one of us. It's not the Id that drives our desires, but an out of whack marauder. We raid, we explore, we pillage, we feast, we drink vast amounts of mead. At least, we want to. But at the same time, we don't live in 9th century Scandinavia; raping and plundering are simply not socially acceptable behaviors. Ax wielding is just not a useful skill anymore. Former viking kings now find themselves at 9-to-5 jobs, sitting at computers, staring mindlessly at Excel spreadsheets. And this is where we are at: the Viking in us pulling one way (“pick up that ax,” “slay that dragon”) and the corporate stooge pulling us in another direction (“crunch those numbers,” “analysis those stats”).
Or, maybe, dragons are just cool and stats are fun to track.
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