Opinion: League of Legends (Video Games) should not be considered a real sport

It sure was an exciting game!

photo credit: VideogameVisionary.com

Ah, the long overdue highly debatable phenomenon that we millennial have been granted the viewing pleasure of, while the older generation smirk at the utter absurdity of it all.

The recent rise of e-sports has me, a non-gamer, scratching my head at the astounding numbers presented in a highly lucrative business our generation has spawned. By any stretch of the imagination, who knew (definitely not our ancestors) that gaming, the controversial “e-sport“, would expand into a multi-million dollar business enjoyed on the big stage. Many, in fact most, of my friends become absolutely giddy at the notion of being able to earn a wallop of cash supposedly doing something fun, cashing in on hand-eye coordination with fame and fortune to boot.

Why am I subconsciously feeling the strong desire to play the role of a devil’s advocate? Would the array of entertainment spectacles consisting of fist-pumping, battle cries, and too often a whole lot of sweating – albeit not through the method of exercising  – be enough to convert anyone into a believer?  All jokes and all comparisons aside, I can say I disagree. ESPN president John Skipper made it loud and clear last year at Code/Media: New York  “[e-sports] is not a sport,” he said. “Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.”

A large number of opinions are heard from the gaming community, and their lustful indulgence of MOBA that is surface feeding the bare minimum facts mandatory to keep the pesky antis out while remaining in favor with the cash cows. Twitch, Amazon, and ESPN, most notably, capitalizes on this niche culture as they are willing to blur the lines for a share of the pie.

Much of the time, the popular opinions you will find in support of the fad, is that an individual, somehow linked, related, or owns a component of the e-sports operations itself, or, two, the hipster gurus that are close to my age who justifies really through the underlying message “the times a changing so step aside old timers”. What was once “geek” culture has gone mainstream. David Grungy of the Conversation pinpointed exactly what the issues are. People are taking what once is considered a hobby, and jamming it into the mold of “sports.”

My reasoning, be frank, is a combination of old adages and modern clichés, mixed in a with a little nostalgia. I grew up in a household not too far from the playgrounds, basketball courts and track fields. My parents enrolled me in swimming, skating and basketball programs in hopes I would “get off my butt and live a proactive lifestyle.” In this day and age, we want children to remember the essential qualities of life. Fitness is such a huge problem now.

If gamers, people who sit in front of a screen, are considered athletes, then we’re going to slip further down the slippery slope we’ve been trapped in. It’s akin to watching movies for relaxation, not revitalization. If you play them too much they’ll dull your mind. Sports involve mental and physical exertion. Unless you’re using the Wii Fit, there is no way on God’s green earth that video games require physical exertion, and rarely barely any mental, if at all.

Yes, it has come a long way, as a growing multi-million perhaps billion dollars competitive business down the road. Just refrain yourself from calling it a sport.

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