“If FIFA is so good for us, what should we do about it?” I asked.
“Let’s have a tournament,” he said. “We can make posters for it. And you can bring us in popcorn and chocolate and snacks. And a prize.”
So we did it. We got a whole bunch of staff and patients to work together. We got permission to use the big projector in the conference room. It felt like an old-school LAN party, lights down low, snacks everywhere, people oohing and ahhing. It created a close little community of activity, gave people real, tangible goals and engaged them in a common cause in a completely organic way. I felt like I was watching this beautiful thing spreading roots.
As time passed, FIFA continued to be the most popular game on the ward, and the one that I most often picked when trying to engage with somebody new. People who initially struggled to engage with each other became friends, people who felt isolated found common ground, people with distressing symptoms found moments of respite. That irresistible blend of accessibility, therapeutic value and fun helped me to initiate meaningful dialogue with many people that would otherwise have kept to themselves. It really is a beautiful game.
FIFA is an awesome game. The article also talks about the resilience you learn from the game. I can see how it would make you more confident.