Prestige, skills, popularity: Pro gaming is a sport

Photo+Editor+Jonny+Ratner+argues+that+gamers+put+in+the+same+time+and+effort+as+many+other+professional+athletes+and+should+be+considered+athletes.+
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Prestige, skills, popularity: Pro gaming is a sport

Photo Editor Jonny Ratner argues that gamers put in the same time and effort as many other professional athletes and should be considered athletes.

Photo Editor Jonny Ratner argues that gamers put in the same time and effort as many other professional athletes and should be considered athletes.

Courtesy Piotr Drabik from Poland [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Photo Editor Jonny Ratner argues that gamers put in the same time and effort as many other professional athletes and should be considered athletes.

Courtesy Piotr Drabik from Poland [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Courtesy Piotr Drabik from Poland [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Photo Editor Jonny Ratner argues that gamers put in the same time and effort as many other professional athletes and should be considered athletes.

Jonny Ratner, Photo Editor

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Most people that casually play video games may do it for entertainment, to pass time or even to escape from everyday aspects of life and enter their own virtual reality. These are all good reasons, but nowadays, video games are so much more that, and it’s time people give credit where credit is due. It is time to accept competitive gaming as a sport that deserves as much respect as any mainstream sport.

As someone who plays video games for entertainment and admires those who compete professionally, I have grown to think that video gaming should indeed be considered a sport. Pro gamers are required to have many of the same skills that pro athletes need.

Professional gamers have gained more recognition recently, but many still have no idea they exist. Professional players compete with others on teams, and the more accomplished teams can receive sponsors from businesses to help pay their players, get their name out there, and get more people to watch gaming competitions.

Some of the best players can make up to $180,000 per year and that’s not even counting winnings from competitions. To become pro, players either get recognized through content they post online, or they compete in local tournaments with the intention to earn the grand prize. Also, prominent figures in society have involved themselves in professional gaming. Hip hop icon Drake became a co-owner of the popular Esports brand, 100 Thieves, in 2018.

When I first got into video games, I considered it merely an activity, which is what it was considered by most of society at that point. But now, times have changed as Esports competitions have filled stadiums of up to 40,000 fans like the League of Legends tournament finals held in Beijing, China in 2017 at the “Bird’s Nest,” the same stadium used to host the 2008 Olympic Games. Fans gather to watch competitive professional gaming competitions much like fans gather to watch a basketball or baseball game. Seeing gaming grow like this has convinced me that it should be in the same conversation as any other sport.

The main argument against gaming being considered a sport is always something similar to “a sport has to contain physical activity.” Yes, physicality is the only skill that isn’t used in gaming and is used in all mainstream sports, but then that brings up new questions: Where is the line drawn? Is physical ability the defining factor of a sport? I believe that gaming can still be considered a sport since it contains all the factors of a mainstream sport aside from physical activity.

In order to thrive in any mainstream sport, one must have an immeasurable amount of skill in their sport, mental and physical stamina, concentration in what they are doing and an ability to help their team win. In both instances whether its gaming or any team sport, these factors are essential.

The whole community of professional gaming has completely changed within the past ten years as more people are learning about what goes on at these events, and what players have to do to get to these moments. It is gaining more and more popularity and respect, as people see how successful and skilled these gamers really are.

Pro gaming tournaments went from 15 people in a small room to being held in huge places that are constantly used for sporting events and concerts. Nowadays, there are kids that look up to gamers such as Ninja and Nick Eh 30 as their motivation and inspiration, which is similar to any kid or fan looking up to a professional athlete.

I can see how it could be hard for people who don’t play or watch video games to understand how in the world it could be considered a sport, but the way I think about it is with any popular sport today: people have seen what goes on and they have understood what something has to contain to be considered a sport. Well, the fact is, professional gaming contains many of the same aspects, people just need to give it a chance.

I believe it is now time for society to accept professional video gaming as a sport, and give it the respect it deserves.