Video games are great for a variety of reasons: they tell great stories that you can’t get in a movie or TV series, they can bring people together around the world, and allow you to yell at children without it being “frowned upon by society.” Over the years it’s been something that has infiltrated the mainstream media. Sports outlets talk about players rating in Madden or NBA2K, we see movies and TV series based on games, and now we are seeing a rise in competitive video games, aka esports.
Over the past year, TV stations like ABC, ESPN, and TBS have started airing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Apex Legends tournaments, as well as Overwatch League matches. Fans of the respective games are excited to see their favorite game rise in popularity. However, there’s always the Joe Knuckledraggers out there who are quick to turn it off…
If you watched it and didn’t like it, I would understand. After all, I don’t see the appeal to Minecraft but people love it. But to look at it for five seconds and immediately turn it off because “it’s video games,” is a very archaic view.
“I can’t believe kids play video games competitively, this is what’s wrong with society.”
— The guy who watches the World Series of Poker.
Believe it or not, esports athletes are similar to normal athletes in that they spend numerous hours perfecting their craft. Do you think Steph Curry just came out of the womb shooting from 100 feet? No, he spent hours working on his shot. These esports athletes aren’t immediately great at their respective games. They spend hours working on their skills, working on their strategies, and making sure they play to the best of their abilities. I spoke with a player in the Overwatch League about his training regimen who said, “I wake up, I play Overwatch. I go to practice, where we play Overwatch. Then after practice, I come home and play a game, which is Overwatch.” If you think about it, esports athletes need to have the reflexes of a hockey goalie, the hand-eye coordination of a baseball player, and execute plays similar to a football team.
“Yeah, but they don’t have the body of an athlete.”
You’re right, they don’t exactly have an athletic body. But neither do baseball pitchers Bartolo Colón and CC Sabathia, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, heavyweight champion boxer Andy Ruiz Jr, MMA fighter Roy “Big Country” Nelson, NBA player Glen Davis, and NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to watch a kid in a competitive environment.”
— The guy who loves watching collegiate sports. Also the guy who’s excited about 19-year-old Zion Williamson.
Most tournaments require it’s participants to be at least 18 years or older. If they are under 18, they must get approval from a parent/guardian.
“Yeah, but they’re just sitting on their butt playing a game.”
Okay, but if you break it down, you can make any sport sound basic.
- Basketball: Throwing a ball into a hoop.
- Football: A bunch of guys move a ball forward while getting dogpiled.
- Baseball: One guy said “I bet you can’t hit this ball,” and someone said, “Bet you I can.”
- Tennis: Hitting a ball while grunting.
Plus, like sports, not all games are the same. Baseball is different than football. Overwatch is different than League of Legends. So if you weren’t a fan of one game, you might like another. Besides, is it really worth getting angry that video games are on TV when it’s probably only replacing a re-run of “Whacked Out Sports,” an infomercial, or some cheesy 90s sci-fi show? (Hint: No. The answer is no.)
I’m not saying you need to start liking esports. I’m just saying that instead of immediately dismissing esports because “video games are childish,” you try watching with an open mind.