Written By Breanna Suk, Collections and Exhibit Coordinator, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
In February, we launched our new feature exhibit “The Games We Play,” which is filled with traditional table top games, some indigenous hand games, and several video game consoles.
The feedback we received from friends, volunteers, and guests has been overwhelmingly positive, however we are often asked, ‘How do games, especially video games, tie into sports?’ I love this question because it allows me to share why this exhibit means so much to me and why I was so excited to do the research, write the storyline, and watch the whole exhibit come together.
I grew up in a house where we played family games more than sports, so these were my very first introductions to sports. I vividly remember sitting on the floor playing crokinole with my grandpa while he visited from Ontario. I remember the strange phantom pain I felt in my fingertips when the game piece hit the pegs, even though my fingers were nowhere near the board. Later, while watching the Ferby Four curl on TV with my dad, I made the connection between the sport of curling and the crokinole game.
I have similar memories of video games. I can remember being 5 or 6 and watching my brother play NHL ‘95. He took the time to explain to me who all the different players and teams were and his choices. It is the first real memory I have that is attached to hockey, which is now one of my favourite sports to watch and follow. These childhood memories give a broader appreciation for how these games allow us, as children and fans, to interact with the teams and players we love. Now married, I spend many nights curled up with my husband as he plays NHL ‘18 and MLB Showtime.
When I started planning this exhibit, I was very nervous. While I love creating exhibits highlighting
technology and equipment evolution, I was even more excited to make something that would prompt my generation and younger to
remember their first sports video games. While “The Games We Play” might not be what you expect in a sports museum, this exhibit will show exactly how games and sports belong together.