The growing definition of sports

Emma Pinnow, Reporter

Humans love sports. From sumo wrestling to rugby to gymnastics, there is an incredible variety of sports to choose from, each incredibly different from the other. However, our idea of what a ‘sport’ is has come into question. 

This is due to the rise of ‘esports’ and whether or not they are deserving of the term. The debate has both the athletics community and the greater populace split. Many people now think that the idea of a ‘sport’ now needs a much wider definition.

But, what are esports? In the most simple terms, it is competitive video gaming. Competitions are set up similarly to other sporting events. Teams or individuals will compete in a particular video game. These games are usually multiplayer, like “Fortnite”, “League of Legends”, or “Overwatch”. Organizations like Fnatic, Team Liquid, or Cloud9, all have multiple teams for multiple different video games consisting of players and coaches. If it’s just a competition, the winner will be declared then. However, esports events are often set up as tournaments, with the winner moving onto to fight the winner of another competition. The prize is usually money, but for more local or lowkey events this can be scrapped for trophies, pins, etc. 

While the format of these competitions are relatively similar to that of other sports, like wrestling, it’s esports themselves that are under debate. The biggest argument against them is the lack of physicality that video games require. While many of them require quick reaction time, that is considered a bare minimum compared to other sports that are more commonly accepted. Esports relies much more on mental capabilities, rather than physical. Although many point out that, Olympic Committee has recognised chess as a sport since 2000 and it is pretty hard to argue for the physical prowess of chess.

Whether or not it is heavily debated, it is easy to see that esports has grown in popularity heavily in recent years. Many of the most influential people in the younger generation are those who stream competitive video games. In that list there are people like Ninja, who has sixteen million followers on twitch, Riot Games who has five million, and many more. ESPN, a popular network for sport-related news, has added an esports section to their website due to the growing interest. Also, multiple colleges have put together varsity teams for esports. According to CNN, there are more than fifty colleges, which put prize money from tournaments back into scholarships. For example, The International 9 is a competition for “Dota 2”, which offered a total of 1.6 million dollars in 2011 and 2012.

Competitive esports is even becoming popular at FMHS. After school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the library students play “League of Legends” and “Super Smash Bros”. They can also try out to compete in LoL against other schools in Colorado, with competitive practice being on Mondays. Our team and players on it have even been scouted by multiple colleges. Mario Morales, the club’s sponsor, wanted to create a place where students could find common ground, knowing that this club is something he would have lived when he went to FMHS. Morales also strongly believes in esports as a true sport, saying “Players train with comparable intensity and develop skills and teamwork over time… The fans are there, the players are there. It’s already in the realm of sports, all that’s missing is the official title.” 

While it is unsure whether or not esports will turn their title as sports in the future, it is certain that their existence has created a stir. With growing technology and society, it makes sense that our sports would grow as well. Esports are here to stay, but their impact will certainly stay longer.