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Are ‘esports’ real sports?

February 5, 2018

 

YOUNG

 

BRYN YOUNG
News Editor | bjy001@latech.edu

 

Gaming has always been a huge part of my life. Not just in the sense of something I love to do in my free time, but as part of my identity. It has given me the opportunity to meet new people from all over, and a way to connect with my friends in new ways.

 

Many people in this world share my passion for the artform that is video games. There are conventions, forums and every form of media one could imagine celebrating the games that have defined our lives. But in recent years, gaming has moved out of the pigeonhole of “art” and into a realm many never expected: sports leagues.

 

Online gaming has been around for a long time, but it was not until the late 2000s that the idea of global tournaments and esports leagues took off. There have been tournaments for games like Call of Duty and leagues for games such as League of Legends and, recently, Overwatch. Even the NBA has decided to sponsor a NBA 2K eleague that will coincide with the actual NBA teams.

 

With all this exciting progress for esports, one must ask the question: should esports be considered the same as “real” sports and e-athletes the same as “real” athletes?

 

For fans of esports, the answer seems obvious. These athletes must dedicate thousands of hours of time honing in their skills and strategy, so of course they are real athletes.

 

Beyond that, esports athletes must actually stay physically and mentally fit to compete on the level they do. It’s not all Mountain Dew and Doritos. They take the time and effort to care for themselves the way Drew Brees and Lebron James do. Coaches are just as responsible for keeping up with their players and changes to the game as their “real” sports counterparts. More importantly, these players dedicate their lives to being the very best at a game that they are then paid money to play. That is pretty much the textbook definition of a professional athlete.

 

Whether you agree that esports qualify as sports or not, they certainly are garnering more support and interest as the years go by. As more money and respect gets poured into these leagues and tournaments, I feel this question will fade.

 

E-sports should be something we can all enjoy. They are exciting and fun to watch. Even if gaming is not on your radar as a sport, you should still give it a glance. Who knows? You may even find a favorite team.

Bryn Young is a sophomore communication major from Mountain View, Arkansas who serves as a news editor for The Tech Talk.

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