One night I was going through my channels before I cancelled my cable subscription, and I stopped on TBS. I think we all know TBS. Comedies, movies, and basketball during March. To my surprise they had started showing E-Sports.
E-Sports, for those unaware, are basically competitive video games. There are sanctioning bodies of E-Sports like Major League Gaming and numerous other competitive leagues. People form teams to play against other teams in front of a crowd like any other sporting event.
ESPN has jumped on the E-Sports bandwagon with a subsite on ESPN.com dedicated to the growing popularity. People play strategy games, racing games, first person shooters, and all other kinds of games in these leagues.
However, are E-Sports really a sport when the player is able to sit down and simply press buttons on a keyboard or a controller?
The definition of a sport is an activity that involves being physical and having a skill where a person or team competes against others for entertainment.
Video games take skill. There isn't a doubt about that. You can't place a person who has been playing a title like Call of Duty for the last 10 years against someone who recently picked it up and not see there is a huge difference in their ability.
These players put in hours upon hours of practice with their teams like any other sport. They put in the time and effort to become cohesive as one to play some of these team E-Sports.
When we look at the definition of sports though it also mentions physical exertion. Physical exertion. Before I buckled down with life, I was a pretty hardcore gamer. I would play shooters, sports games, action games, didn't matter what kind of game.
I never had a bead of sweat drop down my forehead. I never felt weak after playing games for a couple of hours. There was nothing physical to it. Mental? Yes, there are plenty of mental aspects that go into gaming.
Instead of being a sport, I believe E-Sports a spectacle on the same level as poker. Both games take hours upon hours of practice to get down every nuance needed to become successful. Video games and poker take mental energy to get into the mind of an opponent to stay a few moves ahead of them.
However, there are governing rules in E-Sports that helps to regulate. They even have PED testing for the gamers. Pretty hardcore stuff.
Still despite all the rules, testing, and everything else that goes into a legitimate league, E-Sports are not really sports. Just simply another spectacle like poker or professional wrestling. That still doesn't make it any less fun to watch if you're a fan of whatever game is going on though.