We’re conscious of the dangers of sitting for long periods of time in front of our computers. We’ve been cautioned about repetitive motions. But how often do we ignore these concerns, especially when we’re spending the time watching video game streams? In the middle of The International 8, it’s time to discuss how we can best take care of ourselves during long days spent in front of our monitors, televisions, or even at the Rogers Arena.
Last year, I went to The International for the first time. A good friend warned me not to try to watch all the games, that I needed to pace myself. I didn’t understand at first what she meant, but by the third day, I got it: The International is long! By this point last year, three days in, I was starting to flag, my attention was wandering a little. I needed to remember that even for viewers The International is a marathon and not a sprint.
The pros are conscious of how long these days can be. Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat of Team Secret told me in an interview at TI8 that unlike normal 9-5 jobs, Dota 2 pros, “wake up in the morning, and…play until [they] sleep.” Well, during the most important Dota 2 tournament of the year, viewers can watch games on a similar schedule. It’s a feast for fans, but if we’re too gluttonous through the week, we may be too overwhelmed to truly savor the experience.
We all need to take breaks, take care of our bodies, and remember to be kind to ourselves and each other as we celebrate Dota 2 together.
Here are some suggestions for treating yourself well. They’re all things we should remember to do every day, but it can be easy to let them fall by the wayside when we’re wrapped up in something as all-consuming as TI.
Hydrate well. Whether you’re at home or the Rogers Arena, you may be drinking plenty of sugary, caffeinated beverages, but don’t neglect water! Aim for a bottle per series.
Eat well. If you’re at Rogers Arena, it can be tempting to subsist off of hot dogs, french fries, and popcorn all week, but grab a piece of fruit as a midday snack, and think about a salad or stir-fry now and again. Salt, sugar, and grease are all temptations, but the better you fuel your body, the better it will cope with the long days. If you’re watching from home, junk food and fast food are easy options for snacking and filling up without missing a game. However, you’ll feel so much better if you maintain a healthy, balanced diet during the week.
Sleep at night. If you’re watching from home and have to factor in work, school, and the general day-to-day chores of living, you’re going to need to resist staying up all night to catch up on all the games. If you’re on site, you’ll want to partake of the local nightlife after games. That’s cool! Just don’t crash at 4 am and then think you’re catching the first games of the day. At least not every day.
Move and stretch regularly. Get up and move around between games. Do a loop of the Arena, your block, your house to get your blood flowing. Consider going up and down some stairs. Get some fresh air, if possible. Make sure you stretch. Refer to http://www.1-hp.org/ for ideas (as well as for more specific advice for being a healthy gamer!).
Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect to sit and watch all the games with as much enthusiasm and energy as you did on Day One. It’s okay! It doesn’t make you any less of a fan! The games are available to watch on Youtube, along with all the interviews and content, so if it’s critical to you that you see every moment of TI, you can do it at your own pace after the fact.
Maintain a healthy perspective. You may be passionate about a particular team, and if they get knocked out, it will be disappointing. It’s absolutely okay to be upset. Have a good cry. Get in some exercise to use up all that energy. Remind yourself that tomorrow is another day, and the new season is coming soon. And remember: it’s not okay to vent anger or frustration at the players or at fans of other teams.
Express gratitude. TI is a time to celebrate Dota 2. It’s a time to celebrate our community. Tell your favorite cosplayer, your favorite streamer, your favorite video maker, a moderator in your favorite community that you appreciate what they do.
We’re all in this together, fellow fans. I know we can maximize the experience, wherever we all are in the world, but it means sometimes we have to prioritize taking care of ourselves over-consuming all of the amazing Dota 2 taking place right now.
Share your tips for surviving the TI marathon in the comments below!
I maintain my regular routines.
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Only Dota 2 matters now, nothing else.
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