Are Esports considered a REAL sport?
Esports versus “real sports” gets debated a lot in the sports world. People have been arguing over the topic of Esports ever since the first event happened. Things got a bit worse once Esports were allowed into major sporting events, such as the X-Games. Many of the other athletes competing in the X-Games that year were pretty vocal about their feelings about these gamers. Plenty of things can be said for either side of the argument that may be deemed valid points, but today I bring to you the side of the argument that supports Esports as being an actual sport. Esports has a lot of similarities between actual sports that someone who does not play often may not even know exists.
When most people think of sports, they think of physical sports. Ones that involve great fitness and athleticism to participate in. People think of things such as football, basketball, soocer, and other sports. This does not mean that other, non-physical sports do not count in this conversation. There are sports out there that do not require the amount of physical activity that some of the previously stated sports do. Sports such as competitive shooting/archery and curling do not require you to be in top form and shape at all. But physicality aside there is more to sports than just the physical activity that is involved. Let’s take a look and see how we can compare the two.
photo courtesy of NVIDIA
Practice & Training
Being good at anything involves a lot of practice and training. Regardless of if you have an innate talent or just enjoy doing said activity, practicing it is necessary in order to become better at it. This is something that sports and Esports have in common. NBA players, for example, spend all year training and practicing their skills to remain in top form. This means even during the offseason players must make trips to the gym to brush up on their skills.
The same goes for gamers. In order for them to be the best in whatever game that you may want to compete in, they must put in the hours of gameplay. Practice alone or with their teammates. Players learning things such as map positioning, call-outs, and weapon damage are all valuable knowledge gained by practicing a lot. The more knowledge a player gains about a game, the better they will perform. A player’s skills will develop as they put the hours in.
Mental training is also something that both sports athletes and pro-Esports players get as well. Losing games can be taxing on the mind and a player’s confidence. Players must learn to deal with these losses the proper way and learn from them instead of trying to be super negative about them. Players learn to play well with their teammates. If a player has a lot of talent but does not know how to properly apply it in certain situations, then it does the team no good. Players on both sides of this debate need to be mentally prepared to handle the situations that they will face throughout a competition.
Sponsorship & Endorsements
As the famous quote goes, “Nothing in life is free”. Players and athletes must gain endorsements and sponsorships from companies in order to be able to travel and attend events. It is really tough for someone to come out of pocket with so many expenses. Since so much time is devoted to practicing and training, there is no time to work and earn money in ways such as having a normal job. This means players must earn money in different ways. This is where sponsorship money and endorsements come in.
Just like any sports athlete, Esports players must also find companies to help them out with money and equipment to make a living besides whatever wages they may be getting paid from who they play for. Not only does this put money in the player’s pockets, but it also helps the sport and the brand grow. Fans of the sport or game will see the products being advertised during games and events. While fans of the products will see the players in commercials for the products. It is a mutual relationship to help both sides grow.
photo courtesy of HLTV.org
Coaching is actually also a huge role in Esports, just as in normal sports. Without someone there to have a full view of what is going on from the sideline, how will you know what you need to improve upon during the game. Players can not go back and watch replays of what just happened in the previous round mid competition. How will they make the proper adjustments next round to prevent another loss? This is where the coach comes in handy! Just as in football or basketball, a coach watches from the “sideline” and helps their team make adjustments and change strategy in order to make sure they win. As a coach in Esports, you are expected to do the same. The coach is the one person on the team that can see exactly what each of their players are doing. Coaching is a huge part to team success.
Esports have many similarities to actual sports. I think people try to write it off due to the bad wrap that video games tend to have in society nowadays. The media has made people believe that video games make kids who play them violent. This view quickly makes people rule out video gaming as anything but something that kids do to “fry their brains”. In reality, video games and the people who play them are a lot more talented than people give them credit for. Some people may see it as the easy way of making money, but I give you this as an option. Pick up any of the games these people are playing and then play it at the skill level they do and then we can revisit this.
Which side of the debate do you stand with? Do you really think it takes skill to play these games that people are competing in and winning thousands of dollars from?
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