From living in housing co-ops and generally having friends 10 - 15 years younger than me (who tend to be more playful than my peers in their 40s) I regularly observe a distance between myself and people who continue to enjoy games into adulthood. I avoid invitations to "game nights", I sit on the porch at barbeque parties as the other guests play lawn games, I leave the room when the board games come out, and in general I feel grumpy about being "forced to have fun".
When I told my roommate a few weeks ago "I have to start playing some games. Can you help me?", he was over the moon. He literally put his hand to his heart and made one of those emotional gestures of trying not to cry. He was verklempt, for sure.
Why would it matter to someone so much whether I played games or not? First of all, I think it makes people uncomfortable when someone isn't interested in what is universally considered to be fun. Similar to my dislike of The Beatles: it's just not normal. My issues around playing games with people have to do with my own inner conflicts: impatience, attention span, disliking competition, vulnerability, etc. That being said, I am totally willing to put all of that aside for academic purposes. I love learning and I know that learning about games is going to be interesting to me regardless of whether I enjoy playing them or not. So I began playing card games and board games with my roommate and other friends before the semester started. That's how worried I am about playing games - I felt that I needed a head start just to be able to cope! I'm having fun so far, because I'm playing at home with close friends. And it's also fun to make fun of myself for being a grumpy gamer.