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Filed under Opinion, Staff

eSports as a Sport? eRelevant.

eSports’ differences from the sports we know today make it a competitive activity, not a sport

Cartoon+by+Jamie+Yeh
Cartoon by Jamie Yeh

Cartoon by Jamie Yeh

Cartoon by Jamie Yeh

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Hard work, sweat and muscle soreness are typically what comes to mind when people think of  grueling practice for a sport. Ironically, while eSports do not involve very much physical exertion and don’t quite benefit one’s health, they are starting to gain name as a real sport. Statista.com reveals that players of the eSport game League of Legends alone increased to 100 million in August of 2017. Although video games have an understandable appeal, do eSports really have what it takes to be deemed a sport?

For most people, eSports does not quite fit the bill for a normal sport. “I feel like they have to have some sort of a cardio [workout],” sophomore swimmer Victoria Farasat said. “To keep themselves healthy, they have to go to the gym or work out somehow.”

My family always emphasized healthy-living through sports: as a child, I played everything from tennis to badminton to swimming. It’s easy to say that what I’ve known from all these sports is that they all promote exercise and health. The argument that many eSports supporters will make, however, is that eSports is just as competitive as any real sport, and that the professionals practice just as much and maybe more than an average athlete per day.

Spanish teacher Matthew Perez is the general manager of Woodbridge High’s League of Legends team. For him, eSports could be considered to be just as demanding as any other sport.

“Some professionals practice probably eights hours a day,” Mr. Perez said. “At the professional level, there is a lot of hand-eye coordination and communication between teammates that is important.”

Although it can be agreed that eSports, like anything in life, requires practice and strategic plans for success, eSports is really not all that active. For the most part, the eSport “athletes” sit and stare concentratedly at a screen for lengthy amounts of time, probably moving their fingers and wrists as the only physical action in the game (besides perhaps the occasional shout of triumph or banging at the keyboard in frustration). According to Spine Universe, sitting for a long period time is a key cause of back pain; on top of that, the glaring two-dimensional screen is not the most relaxing scenery for anyone’s eyes. Let alone having to stare intensely (or maybe barely blinking) into the screen at fast movement and small details for over ten minutes (if you’re good enough) to avoid any attack from an enemy.

eSports may be just as competitive as any other sport. Like any other sport, it also requires practice and strategy. But in comparison to other real sports, is it healthy? I think not. Active? I think not. In fact, as a student-athlete, I’m hardly able to imagine having to refer to an eSport player as an athlete. eSports simply doesn’t match up to what we know as sports today.

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eSports as a Sport? eRelevant.