Why E-Sports Should Be Considered a Legitimate Sport

Subject: Why E-Sports Should Be Considered a Legitimate Sport
From: Stephan
Date: 6 Jun 2016

Dear Sports Fans Community:

E-sports seem to have a negative connotation with it. As someone who has been playing Super Smash Bros. Melee competitively since high school, I learned what it takes to compete in high level e-sports. I realized that e-sports should be considered a legitimate sport, because of the many similarities between it and other sports. However misconceptions and stereotypes hold it back.

Merriam Webster’s definition of a sport is “a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other.” So the only thing in the definition that doesn’t seem to be compatible with e-sports is “physical activities”. In an article by Eric Johnson, a producer at Recode Radio, he talks about how e-sports should not be considered a sport, and how the term shouldn’t be forced onto it. By comparing e-sports to other sports, it exposes how much less physical activity there is instead of showing the unique skill sets required by the players. While there is a lot less activity in gaming than in soccer, the same could be said about pro golf. Objectively, golf has less physical activity in it than other sports like soccer. Even if someone is out of shape they can still play the game with help from golf carts, however pro golf players are not just anyone. They have dedicated almost their entire lives to getting better at the game, and on the PGA Tour there are no golf carts. The golfers exercise and stay in shape in order to compete. But if we defined sports by comparing the amount of physical activity in it to others, then golf would not be considered a sport. Competitive gaming, contrary to what you might think, does have physical activity in it. So instead of trying to compare who works harder than who, why not see the different skill sets that are required for each sport and respect the players involved.

Like other sports, there is both physical and mental training that goes into getting better in e-sports. Players have to practice the game every day in order to improve, because everyone else is improving as well. These training sessions can last for 10 hours. The players develop a deep knowledge and understand of how their game works. Knowing how every character plays, and which ones have an advantage over the other. They have to know how each technique works, and how to counter them. However a player can know exactly what to do and when to do it, but if he can’t physically execute them then he will lose. In order to be able to execute different techniques in tournament consistently, players have to develop muscle memory and fast reflexes through long training sessions.

During high school I played sports like soccer and baseball, I saw how seriously people take them even though they are just games. So why are e-sports not seen in the same way? The reason I call myself a competitive gamer is because when I was playing soccer in high school I could have taken it very seriously and gotten really good. But whenever I was out on the field during a game, I found myself thinking about going home so I could play some smash bros. So over time I put more time and effort into that game, and getting good at it. However I don’t regret playing sports and staying active, it kept me in shape. Many pro gamers exercise in order to keep themselves healthy. If a gamer spends his whole life sitting down and eating junk food it would only hurt their performance, a good player will balance his schedule between practice and exercise.

I remember a guy from my high school that played video games competitively and even went to a national tournament once. This guy was always mocked, even though he was exceptional at the games he played. Then all the football players would be popular and be praised for all the hard work they do. So basically my classmates thought that the football players who were really good worked hard to get to where they are, but the guy who is good at Counterstrike has no life. I hope that by getting more people to realize that e-sports are a legitimate sport, the gamers who put a lot of time into getting good at their game can be given the respect they deserve.