Traditional sports are great to play and watch, but if we are being honest, they aren’t for everyone. Not everyone desires to or can even be the traditional athlete; traditional meaning the players that are training 5 days a week or more, eating clean to maintain their physique and researching what shoe will make them run faster or jump higher. Not everyone enjoys watching a basketball game or going to track meets, but that doesn’t mean that these folks don’t enjoy a little competition, right?
With the continuous rise of technology, competitive challenges are not only happening physically, but also virtually thanks to video games, a beloved past time since the 1980s. The universality of video games has paved the way for eSports, a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically professional gamers. With popularity that is now worldwide, the ‘e’ stands for electronics, and don’t let the ‘sports’ part confuse you, it’s not just for gamers who like sports-related games. Highly sought-after games like Madden NFL, NBA2K and FIFA simulate the actual sporting events they are based on, but many different genres of games can be played. Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), a subgenre of the action real-time strategy (ARTS) category contains games like Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends. Fortnite and Starcraft, arguably the most famous video games on the market right now, are played competitively as well.
Just like traditional sports, professional eSports athletes play on teams. They train, travel and some even reside together. There is a great camaraderie amongst the players.
eSports teams have even caught the attention of famous traditional sports athletes. NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is the General Manager of the Kings Guard eSports team out of Sacramento, California, while former MLB player Alex Rodriguez has invested in NRG eSports. It’s become such a big deal that matches are even televised on major cable networks like ESPN.
Recently, high schools and universities have invested their funds to launch interscholastic eSports seasons to captivate students, grow school traditions and encourage college and career preparation. It’s a great way for players to feel included, where before they may have been considered “just gamers.” These eSports athletes can also receive varsity letters for their outstanding efforts.
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