Bella Mezzacapo photojournalist
What is a sport? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Okay, well, what exactly is physical exertion? Simply put, it’s exercise. “An activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.” So, a sport requires exercise. So, even if you and your buddies are breaking a sweat in your gaming chairs, I hate to break it to you, but esports are not real sports.
Esports, for those who don’t know, are “electronic sports.” In other words, competitive video games. The foundation for esports was laid in 1978 with Space Invaders by Atari. A few years later, the early gaming classic was played at the 1980 Space Invaders Championships by over 10,000 gamers competing to win. This was the first “large-scale” esports event. Of these 10,000 gamers, four were picked from each of the four regions to go onto the finals in New York. If you are wondering what it looked like, it was essentially monitors and gaming systems lined up with one person at each in one big room with people, likely parents, watching them play. These people came to an event to sit in a ballroom and watch 16–30-year-olds move a joystick for hours. When thinking of sporting events, that does not come to mind, naturally.
Although there is strategy, training, and skill involved in playing video games, it is still incomparable to sports. Playing games like chess or Solitaire requires strategy, and playing an instrument requires lots of training and skill, but neither of those things are compared to sports. So why are video games and/or esports compared? Sports require full-body movements and coordination. Although you could move your entire body while playing video games, it is not a required action to be successful.
Athletes play sports. The definition of an athlete is “one who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.” What comes to mind when you think of an athlete or someone who plays a sport? Do you envision someone who is lean, muscular, fast, active, and the epitome of health? Or do you picture someone who sits in an office chair with a headset on who stares at a screen for hours on end while twiddling their thumbs?
To say that esports are real sports is demeaning to hardworking athletes and really takes away from the effort that they put in. For example, college football players like the ones on our campus undergo lots of training before their season even begins. They have camps in the summer, where they must be in full pads in the blistering hot sun. Not only that, but their entire day, for two whole weeks, is based around the sport. They wake up, eat, practice for two whole hours on end, eat, meet to discuss the next practice, sleep, repeat. That is what athletes do, that is what people who partake in sports do. Gamers may train, but not to the level of intensity that athletes do.
Overall, esports are not real sports because of the lack of physical exertion, full-body coordination, athleticism, and intensity.