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Playoffs during Chuseok?

This week the Overwatch League came back to start the playoff matches. It has been weeks since the community got to see some of the teams plays, and the anticipation was high. Though it seemed like a normal week for most NA and EU fans, there was another large event happening at the same time in South Korea. Chuseok is one of the largest holidays in South Korea, which is when the Overwatch League decided to start the playoffs.

What is Chuseok?

Chuseok is one of two large holidays for South Koreans. Many will compare it to Thanksgiving as it is a time for family. This is when families in Korean gather and give thanks to their ancestors. Many times this is in the form of going back to the hometowns to clean the graves or celebrate the fall food harvest. This holiday comes with food and traditions. This is a three-day holiday which, this year, spanning from September 20-22.

Overwatch League Playoffs

This Overwatch League is a long season. For those players who are in China or North America, it is a long time away from their families. With this major holiday that revolves around family being on such an important esport match day could catch players not at their best. There is a lot of money on the line for these teams and players. Playoffs are smack dab in the middle of an important holiday for the majority of the players. This is a time that homesickness will hit hardest for some, and missing such an important holiday could impact the players.

The argument will always be that they are professionals. They need to do their job. And they are. They are playing in the matches, but they shouldn’t have to. The League should be cognizant and intentional about the dates so that, the best that the league can, can respect major holidays of other countries that are a part of the league.

Global League

As a global league, it is essential that each culture is respected. This would be if the Overwatch League was played on Christmas or Thanksgiving for Americans. The fans and community had already been waiting for many weeks, what is one more day? As there is no in-person events there would no longer be any restrictions based on venues or preplanned physical events.

It seems disrespectful to have such important days on such an important holiday in which some players may not be their best as they are missing home and family. This is normalized and is a privilege that those who align with those in power have. In the American school system, Hanukah or Eid is not given off for students but Christmas is always falling within Winter Break. This narrow perspective have been normalized, but in a global league needs to be considered. Over half the league is made up of Korean-identifying individuals. This is not just for Korean holidays such as Chuseok, but important Chinese, French, and English holidays as well.

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