Many kids dream of a holiday — or any day, really — dedicated to nothing but video games.
Samson “Sam” Emerizy, a fourth-grader in the gifted and talented program at Boise’s White Pine Elementary School, sought out the person he thought could make that happen: Mayor Dave Bieter.
“He came home from school one day and told us he had written a letter to the mayor,” Sam’s mother, Jeni Emerizy, recalled Monday.
That was last December. Sam asked the mayor to designate Jan. 3 as a holiday called “Gamer’s Day.”
The genesis of the idea?
“Since I was, and still am, really obsessed with video games, I thought, ‘Hey, why don’t I make a day about video games?’ ” Sam said. “Then I can play video games all day long and drink soda and eat pizza.”
The mayor was unable to create a holiday but he was willing to issue a proclamation, said Mike Journee, the mayor’s spokesman. Bieter issues, on average, about one proclamation a week, and it’s often tied to some national effort.
The mayor’s office didn’t receive Sam’s letter in time for a Jan. 3 proclamation. They encouraged him to contact the mayor again at a later date:
“Video games have become very popular recently, and I am sure many Boise residents would appreciate your suggestion for a Gamer’s Day (especially since it involves pizza!),” says the letter, which is dated March 30.
The 8-year-old sent the mayor a second letter in mid-May. In it, he said, “I am moving my holiday, Gamer’s Day, to my birthday, August 30th. I hope we will all have fun with Gamer’s Day!”
Eager for a response, he also tracked down the mayor at a YMCA event in June to hand-deliver a copy of that second letter. He admits he was nervous about talking to Bieter face-to-face.
“I was like, ‘Holy crap, I’m actually talking to the freaking mayor of Boise,’ ” Sam said. He can’t remember what he said, but he thought the mayor was really nice.
The mayor’s proclamation says Gamer’s Day — Tuesday, Aug. 30 — can “showcase the use of technology in multiple ways that are fun, active, and can be used to gain knowledge, sharpen motor skills and reaction time, and connect with others or as self-care in spending time alone.”
It notes that games such as Pokemon Go, Xbox Kinect and Wii actually promote physical activity, one of the positive benefits of gaming.
Sam’s favorite game is “Minecraft,” a game in which players create their own worlds with virtual building blocks (like a virtual LEGO). He’s also an avid “Pokemon Go” player, already on Level 19 as part of Team Instinct. He’s not sure if Bieter plays “Pokemon Go.”
“Maybe,” he said. “I mean, since he has so much to do, since he’s the mayor, I don’t know if he could fit in time.”
Sam won’t get to skip school on Gamer’s Day, but his family will be celebrating his birthday with a party at Grinker’s arcade in Eagle.