eSports battle: eSports really are sports

I see the players on the right shouting, elated and jumping for joy. The other team sits in their chairs, some crying and some with just a glum expression. Sadness. Pride. Relief. Guilt. I feel all these emotions through an LED screen.

They are full of legendary moments, bits of reality that remain frozen in time, just like in physical sports, yet eSports do not garner the same respect.

“It’s not a sport — it’s a competition,” said John Skipper, ESPN president.

But then I recall that ESPN hosted fishing, poker and even live eSports coverage, and his words do not make sense.

“To me, it’s more than just a game,” said Jeremy Lin, Charlotte Hornets point guard, last year.

So what is it really?

The dictionary defines a sport as an athletic activity that requires skill and physical prowess, and is often of a competitive nature.

But what is a sport?

Could it be just a physical layout of players, an objective, a field, skills or knowledge?

Or is it the millions of fans cheering on the dreams and ambitions of teams, supporting them and crying with them when they lose, or celebrating when they win?

Or how about the illusion of connection between player and individual, between team and fan, which forms as you follow a team’s struggles?

All professional eSports players have dreams, convictions and dedication. They do not practice less than an athlete of a football club in Europe. Sure, their training is not as close in physical demand with a football player, but you must consider all the other aspects.

Most eSports demand fine and precise movements on the mouse. This means a player’s hand must be accustomed to holding a mouse, and they must understand what every keystroke determines in-game.

The reaction time of eSports players is quicker than the average person.

It is a psychological battle, often requiring complex strategies and quick decision-making.

To be a professional in eSports, you need game knowledge, mechanics, passion and a drive to improve, the same as in any other sport.  It requires a prowess in the field.

“How I look at track as a sport is that I run,” said junior track and field runner Josephus Mitchell. “You click in a game. You think. It’s active. It isn’t running, but you’re doing something.”

Just because something is done in a different medium does not mean you can discredit what it really is. Just because a major innovation of a preexisting concept may be hard to grasp does not mean the essence of that concept is not apparent.

It is easy to see eSports contain all the qualities of a sport. It is most certainly a sport and not a competition.