If Esports Champs Can Eat Veggies and Do Yoga, So Can You
Who put the "e" in sports? And how dare they? And why do they even call esports a sport? It bothers me.
I know video gaming is a booming multibillion-dollar business, but so is pet care, and no one's calling that a sport. Sports are strenuous physical activities, such as basketball, baseball, soccer, right? They require strength and skill and build athletic prowess. Esports are video games played online, staring at a computer screen for hours at a time, chugging Dr. Pepper, waiting for the pizza man to arrive.
Yes, the players have skills -- quick reaction times, speedy fingers, fast hands on the joystick. But compare that with the amazing shooting, jumping and dribbling skills that basketball players master, the incredible agility, speed and strength of soccer players. No contest.
Ever heard of League of Legends? Of course not. It's probably the most popular video game on the pro circuit, with tens of thousands of fans showing up to watch competitions live in packed stadiums and tens of millions following the action on streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube.
How many people came to watch the final of the 2017 World Championship Intel Extreme Masters competition in Katowice, Poland? 173,000. That's 100,000 more than the 2016 Super Bowl!
I surrender. Let video gaming be popular. Let it grow and prosper, assuming boys 10 to 28 can't think of anything better to do with their time. But why do we have to call it a sport?
Because it absolutely is a sport, argue many video gaming fans, after way too much research on my part. Esports competitions are mentally and physically challenging. They require tremendous individual skill, training and teamwork, and some of the violent single-shooter games -- it looks to me -- demand an unquenchable thirst to kill.
"These guys are highly trained athletes," a fan named Piwi commented. "If chess and Go are considered sports, then playing video games is a sport, too."
The jury is still out, way out, but my research turned up a fascinating story about a revolutionary change underway in the world of esports. And even if it's a world you have no interest in, stick around for the punchline, because it gives you ways to step up your own athletic performance, even if your chosen sport is mahjong.
So here's the story, as reported in The New York Times by Andrew Keh.