Post-coma, player finds a role in sports

By MATT YORK/Montana State News

Robert Nemeth never imagined that at his point in his life his favorite “sports” would be baseball closely followed by Major League Gaming. He never thought he would be following “heroes” who were not on a field, but instead behind a video game.

Yet, at the age of 20, Nemeth is doing precisely that.

Nemeth, who prefers to go by ‘Bobby,’ is a young man born and raised in the Bozeman area who is an avid aficianado for the sport of Major League Gaming. Not only is he a spectator; he is a participant as well.

While not on the “pro” circuit, Nemeth plays with semi-pro and professional gamers on a daily basis at games like Halo or Call of Duty. He’s become quite successful and finds the challenge of playing these top players exhilarating.

“Unlike basketball, football or baseball, gaming allows you to play with people you watch on TV – or in this case the Internet – at any real given moment,” Nemeth says. “These are the tops at their prospective sport, and I can pick up a controller from the comfort of my home and play with these guys.”

“Granted,” Nemeth says, “the top five players spend most of their time in sponsored matches and so finding an opportunity to play with them would be rather difficult. “

Nemeth became an avid gamer shortly after suffering a coma, which followed with chronic headaches that forced him to drop out of school. He’s graduated since, but the coma essentially kept him at home for a while, with his only real entertainment consisting of movies and games.

Watching him play, one can see the level of skill that goes into these games. The fast reaction time, the little ticks (such as rolling his thumb involuntarily to keep it “warmed up”) and the hours spent gaming make you realize just how much time is spent on this activity.

For Nemeth, it’s competition. Video games aren’t all about the story, or about just enjoying yourself; it’s about proving you’re the best and being good at it.

In fact, when in an intense match, Nemeth tends to become very closed out and introverted, almost angry; the same look one might see in a star-athlete’s face as they face off against a bitter rival.

The intense passion and love for something as simple as a video game evokes wonderment. Yet, despite this love and passion, despite the label of “nerd” and “introvert” that Nemeth would normally earn, he leads a normal life.

Bobby’s first passion is baseball, and as an avid fan, he’ll likely ignore anything you have to say about the sport if you aren’t as big of a fan as he, with things like “You don’t even watch baseball, how would you know?” or “Shut up, you don’t get it.”

He’s played the sport since he was young, and watches every game almost religiously. His team is the Yankees, and despite the hated moniker the team holds, Bobby seems more than happy to defend them bitterly to the very end, going into an intense depression for a week or so after the Yankees lose in the playoffs.

Still, baseball is not Bobby’s only love, and he has a true depth of understanding in a lot of sports. He loves to watch football and basketball as well and knows an awful lot about them.

Nemeth isn’t some hermit; instead, he actually works in supermarket retail, interacting daily with customers, joking with friends and co-worker, and not giving off the anti-social vibe that usually follows “nerds” like a curse.

Truth is, Nemeth rather likes his job and works hard at it, working to advance and climb the corporate ladder. He’s smart, quick thinking and those are probably the same attributes that allow him to be quick at video games and makes him great at the fast-paced life of retail. Essentially, when it comes down to it, his love and passion for video games come from a rather simplistic view point of, “I’m good at them”.

Nemeth also has two brothers, one of whom is in the Navy, something that Nemeth is really proud of. In fact, Nemeth is really family oriented and spends a great deal of his time with his family, supporting them while they also, in return, support him.

It’s the love and support of his family that gives Nemeth that fire to accomplish anything, and that same drive that sends him into his work place with such grit; however, it still brings him always back around to that video game playing.

A wholesome, family-style entertainment for most, it has become a lifestyle and a pastime for Nemeth, so much so he’s even considered the idea of going pro.

He won’t though, he says, because, “the time necessary to get to that level, to play at that level, and the dedication needed to climb that ladder, would be too much. It wouldn’t make playing fun anymore, not for me at least.”

Nemeth is a gamer, but he is much more than just a “nerd.”

Nemeth is the kind of person who can show you that, with a strong will and a dedicated mind, you can accomplish anything; and no matter what your goals are, or what anyone says about your goals, you should keep pursuing them, because there’s always more to the story than meets the eye.

Edited by Becky Hattersley.

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