Let’s say that eSports began 10 years ago. During these 10 years, games went from unbeknownst to almost the entire world, to the largest games with the most players. Year one featured a pathetic prize pool in tournaments (which weren’t plentiful) and not a lot of spectators. Year 10 already had millions of people watching from all over the world. Professional players end up in giant sports arenas fighting for the grand prize.
Emotions blaze, tears fall down, happiness and sadness combine, and the voices of millions can be heard yelling. “Go Cloud 9!”, “Na’Vi are the champions!” and such. Who can forget The International in 2011 where Na’Vi opened the envelope containing the future and won the first International in Dota 2’s existence.
Now, imagine during these 10 years you constantly have fans from another sport bashing you, bashing the players, talking smack about everything eSports related. Do you hear basketball fans talk down football or tennis? Or any other sport for that matter? Not really. But you see and hear a lot of ‘real sports fans’ downplay eSports and the people involved.
Why is this? There’s an age-old argument that says “Video games cannot be a sport”. And that’s exactly what we’re going to be talking about in this article – and showing the world why this argument is completely wrong.
Video Games Cannot be a Sport Because…
The players don’t do anything physically.
They don’t act as a team.
They’re spoilt brats that drown their sorrows in games.
There’s no strategy.
You just move your mouse around and press keys on the keyboard.
It’s childish and dumb.
How many times have you heard any of these arguments? They’re usually followed up by a random, completely wrong ‘fact’ and the shutdown of these people wanting to talk. They’re just right and you should agree with what they’re saying because they know how stuff like that works.
I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be entitled to their own opinion, but this isn’t where it stops. People who are against taking part in eSports usually pursue only one goal: To show you they’re right. I don’t know why such a thing is necessary but hey – they’re there.
The thing is, any of these arguments could be true – if there was factual evidence behind each. As it stands right now, there’s literally nothing true about any of the statements I listed above.
Now, how about we debunk every single one of these arguments once and for all?
No Physical Activity
Well, it’s true that there’s not a lot of physical activity, but saying there’s none at all is plain wrong. Players use their hands all of the time and the best players use them very quickly. You don’t have time to dilly-dally so you need quick reflexes and a steady hand at the same time (in most cases).
eSports participants and professional players might not be hunks of meat that would split a plane in half, but they definitely do need to include some physical activity (besides, there are players which go to the gym and work out so there’s that).
No “Real” Team Play
I’ve actually heard this argument only a couple of times but I just had to include it here. I mean, if you’re playing a game such as Hearthstone, of course you won’t be doing anything that requires a team. But most games are based on team play (much to the delight of eSports betting fans).
Take CS: GO for example – team play involved here must be precise to the very last detail; any derailing and you’ve lost a round. And one round can go a long, long way.
All Players are Kids in Their Minds (and Appearance)
Here’s a thought: How about we think of these players as people doing their jobs. It just happens to be jobs that they love at the same time. If there are players which are juvenile, they’re few and are not particularly liked by the communities (unless they’re likeable and nice).
And why do they have to look like strong, manly lumberjacks? Formula 1 drivers are short, not very strong-looking but they have incredible stamina and hidden strength.
The argument itself does nothing other than devalue these people. Remember: They’re people too and any abuse can be dangerous and a motivation-killer.
If playing a game on a professional level was as easy as just entering and, well, playing, everyone would be doing it. But, because it’s not, we have a handful of professionals, the very best in a specific game, fighting for glory and fame. The strategies involved in most games are complex and require lots of training to master.
Some teams (lately more and more teams) have coaches that devise strategies and share them with the team. Everyone has a purpose.
I’m just gonna avoid providing a counter-argument here because this is the only argument which is actually valid as an opinion. It’s stupid to some people, it’s fun for others – end of story.
Doesn’t Take Skill to Play
I remember when I was watching the 2nd Season of League of Legends competitive play (Azubu Frost vs Taipei Assassins in the World Championship Finals) and a fact came up. These Asian players would spend around 16 hours in Internet cafes or in their homes – practicing. That’s sixteen hours for you. Every day. People need to understand that, if soccer takes a lot of practice and getting good, so do video games. In this case, eSports doesn’t have room for those that ‘just mash buttons on their keyboards and move their mouse’, as some people believe.
Dumb and Childish
Sure, some games are dumb and some games are childish. But eSports is no joke – you have plenty of teams fighting for money, recognition, and as I said before, fame and glory. It takes a lot of practice and motivation to push yourself to reach the highest level. It might seem like there’s nothing at stake, but you have to keep in mind some of these people have nothing else in their lives. They want to be the best – it’s their dream. A dream shattered is a man broken. Losing in the finals (or winning) lets out so much emotion.
Regarding the arguments – eSports is here to stay and there’s no stopping anymore. Games have evolved, gamers have evolved, and so have the prizes, tournaments, spectators, arenas, commentators, videos, live streaming, etc. If that doesn’t make eSports a real sport, I don’t know what does.