eSports and Athleticism – A Quick Rant

I may be about to start an argument.

It’s been ages, but I remember posting something about eSports and the fact that people are beginning to view pro gamers as athletes. Of course this sparked a chaotic debate, and frankly, I don’t even remember what my opinion was on the matter.

But now with eSports escalating and becoming extremely popular, this is a subject that’s really starting to circulate. Should competitive gamers be considered athletes?

Call of Duty is having a massive tournament at the X-Games in Austin, a major feat which will accompany the several other extreme sports that have mesmerized people outside of the traditional sports events. It’s a fantastic step in terms of growing the presence of eSports, but it’s sparked quite a bit of controversy.

As someone who was raised with a background in sports, I find myself to be very torn. I’m a huge advocate of eSports. I enjoy viewing competitive games as a spectator and watching pro teams advance as reigning squads. I’ll even be covering Halo and Call of Duty games at Chattanooga’s local Iron Games event. However, I don’t view these gamers as athletes. At least in the traditional sense.

The games are competitive, yes. But I guess in terms of athleticism, it may be easier to classify it as more of a mental sport. Despite what people may say (particularly about games like Call of Duty), gaming on a competitive level requires a lot of brainstorming. There is a strategical way of thinking that can perfectly accompany the reflexes and response times.

Will MLG fit in well at the X-Games? Yes, because of the demographic that watches and follows the extreme sports events. But to classify this niche of video games as a sport seems a bit bizarre.

What do you guys think?

6 thoughts on “eSports and Athleticism – A Quick Rant”

  1. The brain is still a muscle right? So what separates competitive use of one set of muscles and dexterity from another? Plus “sport” is more about competition than muscle use imo. I say yes, though it will probably never catch on in mainstream thinking as such. At least not this generation

  2. I think you’ve raised some respectable points in this rant. I’m going to write about this topic myself. You’ve inspired me to share my own opinion. Because gaming is a sport given the general acceptance of the term “eSport”, it is certainly correct to call gamers athletes. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary an athlete is defined as “a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength”. Physical strength is not necessary in the it is to sports like basketball, football (American soccer), baseball, etc. Good work on this.

  3. Let’s switch out the word Sport with Game. Chess is a game, football is a game, baseball is a game, Starcraft is a game, bowling is a game… Not really sure what defines a sport but all these activities have one thing in common. They are games. Games are played to be fun and to compete in. Right?

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