For a lot of us, playing sports from time to time is a means of scratching a competitive itch. We like to challenge ourselves, challenge others, and test our abilities, and sports are usually the best ways to do so.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it tough for most of us to play sports, and conditions remain tricky even now. Sports are available again in many cases, but not everyone feels safe going back just yet. As stated in our piece on ‘Factors to Consider When Playing Sports During a Pandemic’, now is a time to trust your gut on this sort of matter.
For many though, the question then becomes what to do instead. If you’ve been waiting for more than a year to get back to a favorite sport or regular league, and you just don’t quite feel ready, you may be yearning for a way to compete. Nothing quite matches a favorite sport, but we do have some suggestions that might serve as similar outlets.
Maybe the simplest, quickest way to jump into a competition these days is via trivia. Whether you’re playing on your own in an arcade mode, competing against other opponents, or even playing alongside friends on a team, it’s an excellent way to test yourself and enjoy a few wins and losses. And while the ideal way to play may be in a public venue, pub-trivia style, there are a lot of excellent apps today that make it easy to enjoy this activity remotely. Digital Trends did a nice write-up of some of the best for both iOS and Android users, including Jeopardy! Trivia Quiz Game, Trivia Crack, Trivia 360, and a few others. All are worth a look, and in the end there’s a good chance you’ll have found a fun new competitive app to enjoy.
- Video Games
Video games basically speak for themselves, and it’s no wonder numerous reports indicated spiking video game activity during the pandemic. For many, games just represented something to do while in “lockdown,” or a way to socialize remotely while isolating. If you have a particularly strong competitive drive though, video games can also scratch that itch. Plus, with the emphasis on multiplayer these days, there’s a way to compete with real opponents in just about any kind of game. That might mean racing in Mario Kart, battling in a Call Of Duty map, or going head-to-head in NBA 2K. Whatever the case, there’s more than enough virtual competition to go around.
- Online Poker
As its own sort of branch of the video game world, online poker makes for another excellent competitive outlet — though the nature of the competition can vary. According to Poker.org, there are currently just five states (Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Michigan) where you can play online poker with actual money on the line. In all other states however, you can still play internet- or app-based
poker games that simulate the real thing. Basically this means that if you enjoy the thrill of trying to out- maneuver opponents at a virtual poker table, you can do it wherever you may be. If that thrill of competition depends on cash being on the line though, you will be more limited.
- Online Blackjack
We can basically say everything that was said about poker here again. Blackjack is another casino card game that can be enjoyed virtually everywhere — and with real money only where such activity is specifically legalized. We’re including it as its own example though because it’s a different game than poker. Some prefer the quick nature of blackjack, and the simple gameplay layered over mathematical strategy. Others prefer the psychology and drawn-out nature of poker. Whatever your preference, both games make for fun and easy ways to compete safely during a pandemic.
We’ll circle back around to sports with this last suggestion, because golf is one that can be played almost entirely safely. Last September, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that golf was “booming” essentially for this very reason. Certainly by comparison to other sports, it is a reasonable way to compete in person.
That said, precautions are still needed. Playing a very crowded course still involves risk — as does riding in a cart with an opponent, or walking too closely together. Furthermore, if you’ve been exposed to Covid or tested positive, you should stay away from the golf course altogether for others’ safety. Provided all of that is considered though, golf can be a fun competitive outlet as well.
Hopefully some of these suggestions appeal, and you’ll have a few more ways to work out that competitive energy!