When I was younger, people would call you lazy if you played video games all day. Today, some people might call you an athlete.
But seriously, how can clicking a mouse all day while playing games on your computer or clicking buttons on your controller to an Xbox One game make you an athlete? Does it build muscles? Does it increase endurance? Does it strengthen the immune system?
The answer is no.
“Just playing (videogames) with your friends … I don’t consider that a sport,” said junior football player Patrick Charvat.
Let us address something about the new eSports phenomenon: eSports are not actual sports.
A sport is physical activity requiring constant practice so an individual or team can face off against an opponent for triumphant victory. Constant practice of sports can bring many physical benefits.
An athlete is someone who constantly partakes in sports and someone who is typically in a grand physical state.
When I played recreational football or soccer for my middle school, that was seen as a sport and I was considered an athlete. But nowadays, teenagers are getting scholarship offers to go to NCAA Division I schools to play video games.
Turning on your Xbox One and playing “Halo 5: Guardians” should not make you an athlete, nor should it be considered a sport.
If anything, eSports should be considered competitions.
“It’s not a sport — it’s a competition,” said ESPN President John Skipper when asked about eSports during a New York conference. “Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition.”
In comparison, should chess be considered a sport? Checkers? Poker? How about “Jeopardy!”?
All these competitions have the same characteristics as eSports: they take practice, they sell out arenas and venues, millions are interested in them, they provide mental benefits and no one can become good overnight.
“(Most) eSports players don’t actually play sports,” said a “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” player who goes by the handle failbeatbox, in an interview while playing the computer game. “Playing videogames and other games (like chess and poker) make you a competitor, not an athlete.”
When Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton runs on a treadmill or visits the weight room to prepare for his next match (while also preventing diabetes, obesity and heart disease), he is preparing for a sport.
When professional “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” player Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom turns on his computer to practice getting headshots and kills, he is preparing for a competition.
See the difference?