Better than Video Games

Is there anything cooler than video games? Ask me that question and I could name hundreds of things. But I’m a 50-something guy who was an adult before video gaming began to super-dazzle us with eye-popping graphics and deeper story. Ask your average teenage guy (or twentysomething guy, for that matter), and you’re likely to get a very different answer.

But not every teen would agree. Ask Austin, Trevor and Connor Bartz of New Brighton, Minn., here’s what you’d get:

“You don’t make life memories playing video games,” says one the Bartz brothers to NBC’s Kevin Tibbles on the Nightly News. “You make ‘em doing some stuff like this.”

“Stuff like this,” as it turns out, is making snow sculptures on their front lawn. This year’s snow-art took the boys more than 500 hours to construct, the final product being an octopus more than 18 feet tall and 35 feet wide and fashioned using 150 tons of snow. Past sculptures have included a puffer fish, shark and turtle.

And while simply leaving the gaming console alone to get outside (in cold, cold weather) for hundreds of hours is admirable, these guys aren’t in it simply to impress their neighbors. In fact, impressing neighbors seems to be the furthest thing from their minds. Instead, they sculpt snow for a cause, bringing awareness to the need for clean drinking water in Haiti. To date, donations have exceeded $8,000.

Yeah, I’d say that was cooler (like below zero cooler) than playing video games!

Who wrote this?

Bob Waliszewski is the director of the Plugged In department. His syndicated "Plugged In Movie Review" feature is heard by approximately 9 million people each week on more than 1,500 radio stations and other outlets and has been nominated for a National Religious Broadcaster's award. Waliszewski is the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids With Love, Not War. You can follow him on Twitter @PluggedInBob.

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