The Impending Cyber Olympiad: Should Esports Be Held to the Same Standards as Traditional Sports?

Stephen Dumeyer | Reporter

Of all markets of competition, esports is one of the fastest growing. With a plethora of games like League of Legends, CSGO, DOTA, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, PUBG, Overwatch, and Call of Duty, there are many pathways for gamers to go pro.

Do any of these qualify as a sport? Junior Esports Club Vice President Christian O’Neil doesn’t believe so, despite his ties to the growing club.

“Esports should not be fully considered a sport,” O’Neil said. “By definition, a sport is ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill.’”

O’Neil does believe that esports, on many levels, may excel above sports in the sense of requiring skill, but ultimately lacks in the “physical exertion” department.

“In terms of practice and preparation, I think esports can compare to regular sports.” O’Neil said. “In professional esports, there are countless amounts of rigorous practice much like regular sports, but by definition, esports shouldn’t be considered a sport unless the very definition of a sport is altered.”

Some may take the side of gamers and say that while esports may not challenge the body in an aerobic capacity or test its strength, it does require a certain amount of stamina.

Just in Rainbow Six Siege, the last two major tournament finals have lasted four hours and 26 minutes and four hours and 13 minutes, and in each only four of the five possible maps (like games in a sport series) were played.

“Sitting in a chair is definitely intensive and sometimes it’s hard to just sit for that long. But compared to some sports practices… I feel like sitting in a chair isn’t comparable,” said O’Neil. “Also, in sports, injuries come often from the amount of physical contact and exercise and there’s a wide range of possible injuries and stuff that can occur, but in esports there’s really only one wide spread injury… which [is] carpel tunnel.”

While esports may not be getting students exempt from P.E. any time soon, O’Neil does believe that audiences of esports rival that of traditional sports and could soon have complimentary audiences.

“In terms of entertainment, recently esports tournaments have been getting larger viewership.” O’Neil says. “For example, the 2017 League of Legends World Championship capped at a whopping 44 million unique viewers at once. While the largest viewed NBA game ever was the 1998 Finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz [which] only had a high of 33 million unique viewers.”

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