In the digital world we live in today, electronics dominate the mass market. According to esrb.org, 67% of US households play video games. If you are a student, then you have either seen or played a video game yourself, if you are an adult, you must remember that Nintendo device and that dusty old Mario game, and if you are a parent, you have most likely seen your child play some kind of video game. With this integration of gaming into our everyday lives, competition became inherently dispersed through the best of the best games. Now there are high level tournaments for video games like League of Legends, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft. This emergence of video game tournaments pushed the limits of what we perceive as “athletic.” The video game community calls these competitive games eSports. I believe that schools in general should take the progressive move to allow eSports into the athletic community for the benefits of those who do not wish to participate in other sports.
One of the cools things about an eSports team is that the heart is already there. Every month, around 67 million players log in to the game, League of Legends, to battle it out with others in a 5v5 competitive match. The best teams of five in this game go on to play online tournaments with others in hopes of climbing up the ranks and getting tickets into higher level tournaments. While some may believe that there is no monetary benefit from playing eSports, regional League of Legends tournaments give out thousands of dollars to the winners and runner ups. One could only imagine how much the prize pool is for the League of Legends world championships. The LoL World Championships has a prize pool of over two million dollars and the winning team gets half of that. The Staples Center sold out in a day when LoL Championships were happening and more people watched it then they did for the World Series of baseball. All of these ranked players range from high school freshmen to college seniors. The Call of Duty World Championships has a prize pool of one million dollars and the Smite World Championships has a prize pool of over two and a half million dollars. ESports have become a worldwide phenomenon, gaining traction from livestreamers on YouTube and Twitch TV. The competitive atmosphere, however, doesn’t mean that the community is rough and mean. ESport teams constantly help other eSports teams for the betterment of both teams. The community is great, the outcome is, regardless of prize money, is awesome, and the strategic value is priceless, and the relaxation and down time from harsh, but necessary academics is critical for a student’s mind to function the way his/her teacher wants it to.
This is why schools should have eSports teams. For players that would rather spend their athletic time doing something else than tiered sports, this would be an alternative solution. Schools might not consider eSports a sport, but the meaning of the word “sport” is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.” Players have the skill to play these games, exert mental prowess, and take part in a competitive game. Therefore, competitive video games are sports. The best part is, it will not cost schools a dime. With the emergence of schools’ Bring Your Own Device Programs, players will be able to bring their computers to school and play. They will learn strategies on how to win the different games that they will be playing and they will make friends in the process. If school administrators think that eSports are bad because they take away academic credibility, think again. In 2013, a study was conducted in Queen Mary University of London and University College London to see if video games were beneficial for students and researchers found that certain strategic games can increase a person’s brain flexibility. When this discovery is combined with the idea of creating friends in a good community, the product is a well maintained mind that has the balance between the fun aspect, the social aspect, and the studious aspect that all high school students long to have. When people know that they spent a certain amount of time with their friends or other people in general and they had fun AND they did their homework AND they studied for their tests, they will feel better as a person. This emotional outcome is crucial for a student’s academic career and school teachers may see significant grade boosts in certain kids’ scores.
ESports provide mental stability, brain flexibility, competition, and fun. Plus, an eSports team doesn’t cost schools much money. Overall, eSports in schools nationwide doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
So what do you think about eSports in school? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!
NOTE: This is an opinion – it’s neither right nor wrong. Whether you agree or disagree with this post, please don’t post profanity. This article is meant for discussion.