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OPINION: Esports Should be Considered a Real Sport

NEW+YORK%2C+NY+-+JULY+28%3A+A+view+of+the+arena+as+Philadelphia+Fusion+play+London+Spitfire+during+Overwatch+League+Grand+Finals+-+Day+2+at+Barclays+Center+on+July+28%2C+2018+in+New+York+City.++%28Photo+by+Bryan+Bedder%2FGetty+Images+for+Blizzard+Entertainment+%29
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: A view of the arena as Philadelphia Fusion play London Spitfire during Overwatch League Grand Finals - Day 2 at Barclays Center on July 28, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment )

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: A view of the arena as Philadelphia Fusion play London Spitfire during Overwatch League Grand Finals - Day 2 at Barclays Center on July 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment )

(Credit too long, see caption)

(Credit too long, see caption)

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: A view of the arena as Philadelphia Fusion play London Spitfire during Overwatch League Grand Finals - Day 2 at Barclays Center on July 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment )

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So far this year, fans have collectively spent 240 million hours watching League of Legends, 212 million hours watching Counter Strike: Global Offensive and 180 million hours watching Dota 2.

While the names of these Esport games might be unfamiliar to some people, no one can deny these numbers show how popular Esports have become.

Esports began as video fighting games in the late 90’s.The basics of Esports are simple. Teams or single players compete in games to find out who is the best. People mainly watch esports on Twitch.tv or at stadiums. Recently, the the First Overwatch League grand finals were held in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The games have become so popular that ESPN is covering the games on its network and recently featured Ninja, a Fortnite player on its magazine cover. However, many argued that Esports did not belong in the magazine. But as a fan and player of Esports, I’m here to say that Esports should be considered a sport. Even though there’s no physical contact, it involves many other elements of athletic competition.

For one, the skills required to play Esports are mentally the same as other sports. In the game Overwatch, teams of six use heroes to defeat the other team. The game is set in a futuristic society and the object is to capture points by avoiding or killing enemies in a certain amount of time. One skill involved is selecting the right heroes who have the right individual abilities and will work well together. While playing, quick decision-making skills are involved, just like in other sports. Also, just like in any sport, players  can suffer from burnout — physical or mental collapse caused by stress. Players also can suffer physical injuries to their wrists.

Some will say Esports are not real sports because they don’t require a lot of physical activity. However, people consider golf and car racing to be sports, even though there is little physical activity. And, gamers do some exercise. The Philadelphia Fusion, an Esports team, have a team physical fitness section of the house fitted with ping-pong, weights, and a swimming pool because staying in shape helps their mental ability to play at the highest level of their respective Esport.

Another reason to consider Esports an actual sport is that it has a big fan base, just like traditional sports. Yes, 103 million people watched this year’s Super Bowl and even more watch the World Series. But, comparatively, fans of League of Legends, an Esports game, have collectively watched people play for over 240 million hours, according to Newzoo.com.

So, I just don’t understand why are traditional sports fans getting so worked up over whether Esports is a sport. How does it hurt them? Video games may be a part of the Olympics in 2024. No one is going to stop watching the other sports in the Olympics because someone is playing Super Mario or Fortnite.

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