Are E-Sports A Real Sport?


The Durango High School Library on Wednesday, February 1st. E-sports coach Beau Brook and player Austin Stillwaugh compete during a friendly match during preseason to compete in one of their two selected competitions Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Currently showing Super Smash Bros.

At Durango High School, there are tons of sports that are part of the Colorado High School Activities Association or for short, “CHSAA.” CHSAA covers big sports at Durango High School like football, soccer, basketball, and many other sports. One of the newest sports that has been added is esports. Esports is a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers. From someone else’s perspective, esports just looks like people just playing video games for a living. But, esports has tons of mental attributes unlike anything other sports offer. 

To start off with, when you think of a sport, your first thought in mind is probably someone playing football or basketball where you have to push your own physical traits to the limit. Of course, you would not think of someone sitting down and playing games like esports. Some people even go to the point and state that “Esports is not a real sport because all they do is sit down and play games’ ‘. Although they are partially correct, they are forgetting that there is more to a sport than just the physical attributes revolving around the sport. For example, esports offer and are required to have tons of mental characteristics like football and soccer. According to EsportScholar, they state that “To be a professional gamer requires a significant amount of training, just as traditional sports do. All esports require a dedicated concentration, precision, and execution; based on genuine skill, with very little left to chance. You cannot become a professional gamer without thousands of hours of in-game experience.” To be able to become a professional athlete you have to put in thousands of hours of training and working hard to become the best, and the same also goes with esports, they all put in thousands of hours of in-game time to be able to become better than 99% of other players.

Esports began back in 1972 when home consoles started to produce video game consoles, the first few consoles that were produced in the early ’70s were the Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Bally Astrocade, and Magnavox Odyssey². The first composition was played in 1980 in the Space Invaders game which was launched in 1978 and during the tournament, over 10,000 players completed making it the first major event for esports. Over the years, esports slowly but surely started to increase in viewership becoming more of a big entertainment event and even becoming more competitive. From the 2000s-2010’s growth in esports increased because of the production of many new consoles but mostly starting with the Xbox and the PlayStation. After a few years and thousands of new consoles and games that have been released, there are plenty of online tournaments where you apply for and can even win a prize pool of money.

 At Durango High School, they offer a bunch of different sports with the newly added esports. They compete in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Rocket League. Ethan Goupil, a senior at Durango High School explains the competitions that esports offers, “Rocket League is a three against three soccer match that is played with rocket propelled cars, and… Smash Bros is one against one fight like a boxing match but you can play with characters from other games and those characters fight with certain powers.” These games have incredibly difficult game mechanics where it will take you months for you just to remember all the buttons and triggers. Ethan Goupil was also part of the Durango High School Track team and is very athletic, but Ethan Goupil compares Track and Esports in a curious way, “Although the difference between esports and track is very notable in the physical aspect… in esports you have to have a strong mentality to push yourself forward even if you lose… just like in track how if you fall you have to get back up and try again.” But others would think differently. For example, Ethan Pepperdine who is also a senior at the Esports team stated that, “With Esports being new and very much so viewed as a geeky thing and for lowlifes who never touched grass to have a team here at DHS who seems to win in their respective games, it helps the future of esports be more respectable even if it is by a little. With also some part of esports being practical, where Rocket league was in the Olympics and the team that won split $80,000 among themselves.” People can only assume that the a major reason why esports isn’t a sport is because there are no physical attributes at all within the sport. But Beau Brooks or Mr. Brooks an is a first year teacher at Durango high school is the esports coach and has a variety of experience in gaming thinks differently, Brooks states, “Like sports anyone can play it right out of the bat, like you can play basketball, and soccer, you might not be good and might even get beat… but with hours of practice, you will be able to compete at a higher level… That’s why I believe it’s considered a sport because it does use hand eye coordination or succeed or do well.” Esports and just like any other sport takes time and skill to be able to compete, and at Durango high school, their esports program also offers something pretty unique for ones who are antisocial or don’t enjoy face to face contact, Beau Brooks explain that, “Esports is co-ed, it doesn’t matter your age, your height, your gender, your sexuality  … everyone is equal and when they compete they don’t even see each other… It’s all based on skill… You could have a freshman compete against a senior… or even have a junior guy competing against a freshman girl… It doesn’t matter, it’s just competing.” It is important for students to feel comfortable and relaxed when competing in a subject that they love and enjoy. But not just students, everyone works and competes the best when they feel comfortable and trusted in their own personal space. 

Durango high school offers a variety of sports and clubs. But what is important is how to put all this time and effort into their future. Some people will go on to become athletes, Doctors, lawyers, artists and maybe be in the business industry and create their own new product that will skyrocket. For esports it is difficult to understand how you could use this skill and knowledge that they have gained over the past few years. But Beau Brook found that, “the studies that they have done show that a lot of students that are interested in esports are also interested in STEM classes and often will crawl into industries that succumb in engineering, coding or even computer science. So it’s a way to introduce it to people who haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to it… and nowadays it’s pretty neat that over 200 universities in the United States have esports programs and they offer scholarships for students… at a college level.” Currently there is a range of different careers and opportunities that you can study for that involves esports, and anyone who has the opportunity to achieve their dream, they should do everything in their power to complete those dreams.