In the War Room with Warfel: Esports is not a sport

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

SIU unveiled their new Esports Arena this weekend, but why is it called ‘esports’ if there is little to no physical effort put forth in video gaming?

Electronic gaming, or ‘video gaming’ as it’s commonly called, is not a sport. 

Sports are defined by Merriam-Webster as a physical activity for pleasure, which I would consider as the recreational side of sports, which is something different entirely. 

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Sports, as we see in the MLB, NHL, NFL and the NBA, require physical activity plus skill in a competitive setting.

While sitting in front of a computer monitor racing your fingers across the keyboard or even using a gaming system and a computer does require skill, there is no physicality behind it whatsoever. 

According to the New York Times, Kyle Giersdorf, who won the Fortnite competition recently, had been playing the game for six to eight hours a day. 

Skills in video games are completely different than those needed in sports; in video games, to be good you really only need good coordination in your fingers and quick reaction times.

Sports require not only good coordination and quick reaction times, but your whole body moving in a fluid motion, not just your fingers.

Almost anyone with enough screen time can become good at video games, especially if you’re playing six or more hours a day.

The same can be said for sports as well; if you are playing basketball, hockey, baseball or football six or more hours a day, you should become an expert in those games.

No matter how much natural athletic ability you have, if you want to be successful at baseball, you have to work out to improve your game.

To improve in video gaming, all you have to do is play more; you don’t have to go the gym, run on a treadmill, or lift weights.

Instead, you can sit in front of your television or computer monitor munching on Cheetos and chugging Monster as you roll into your eighth hour of Overwatch.

While ESports do have competitions like sports, it is the way they practice and the physicality that defines an actual sport. 

Competitive gaming is taxing on the mind and body, but not in the same way that sports are.

If you have ever played a sport either recreationally or competitively, your whole body is tired after you are finished, especially if you choose to go at the sport with all your energy.

Anytime I have played video games for hours on end, I simply have a headache and feel groggy because all I have been doing all day is staring at a screen.

Some might say there is strategy involved in video games, but the same can be said for chess or checkers and no one calls them sports. 

Everyone calls those board games; they are simply games and not a sport.

So, if you are a competitive gamer, please for the sake of your health and my sanity, turn off the screen.

Go outside see the thing called the sun, and if you are like Howie from the Benchwarmers and are deathly afraid of the sun, I’m sorry.

I encourage everyone to find an actual sport to play that requires physical activity; embrace your nerdy side and join a Quidditch team or go the rec and box.

Adam Warfel, Sports Editor, can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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