Video games are a great pastime and it’s fun when you are good at them, but a sport is much more than something you play.
Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.
The famous quite by Bill Shankly sums it up perfectly for millions of hardcore, dedicated, life-long fans who have followed their team through years of trials and tribulations desperately hoping for it to be ‘their season’.
Sports have been the home of cliches and inspired countless numbers of people to do incredible things even though there is still debate on what actually classifies as a sport. When we say the words ‘professional athlete’ what do we automatically think of? Men and women who are at the peak of the physical fitness, with skills and cognitive abilities that take years of practice to master.
This then leads us to question the categorisation of ‘sports’ like darts & chess, who no doubt require vast amounts of skill and practice but lack the physical exertion of ‘real’ sports. Now there is a new question mark entering the equation and that is the world of eSports.
Electronic sports have become a sleeping giant in the arena of games. They have built a substantial audience and have even been covered by ESPN and they have found a home for TV in the UK.
Physical consequences and the excitement of seeing athletes complete feats of almost inhuman proportion, give sports a sense of danger and separate athletes much more from the average person. It’s hard to argue for eSports when teenage boys are amongst the elite competitors, although some attribute this to the quicker reaction times of teenagers and young adults.
To be elite in your craft requires years and years of practice, dedication and sacrifice for the greats to achieve the unachievable. Traditional sports feature the one percent of one percent athletes who spend their entire lives striving for physical dominance, the key word being physical; eSports ignore this critical factor, and instead focuses more on reaction time and precision.
Traditional sports build powerful teams through overcoming adversity; adversity that eSports have no real equivalent to match, can a 12 hour gaming training marathon compare to the rigorous and brutal sessions of professional football & NFL teams? On a physical level, absolutely not, but gamers would argue that the focus necessary for their 12 hour intensive training sessions cause more mental fatigue which a couple hour sports practice cannot compare with. Both sets of players can probably relate to overcoming adversity and grinding out a victory against your closest rival.
eSports have definitely earned their place in the current market, starting as a somewhat underground niche to rising up and featuring million dollar prize pools and mainstream attention. Developments in technology and the rise in popularity of eSports bars like Meltdown UK are providing improved access to the world of eSports and do provide a link between sports and gaming.
One thing that is for certain is that eSports cannot be ignored, with major professional sports teams and former athletes investing in the global phenomenon it seems the rise of gaming wont slow down anytime soon.
Deputy Editor & Social Media Specialist