It wasn’t until I picked up an issue of Game Informer and saw an advertisement for League of Legends in the back that I began to become interested in competitive gaming. I had played Call of Duty, but it was never really a competitive game for me despite the fact that the series had already begun to grow a competitive community centered around tournaments at that time. In fact, I started to lose interest in the Call of Duty franchise because of the competitive nature.
I wasn’t a big fan of competitive games because I no longer had much of a competitive spirit. This was part of the reason that I had lost interest in sports to begin with, but League of Legends changed that. I played it with my friends, and we played to win. This was a game that, in my mind, wasn’t any fun to play unless you played competitively. It completely changed my outlook on not just competitive video games, but competition as a whole.
Eventually, through competitive games like League of Legends, I met a lot of friends. These friends weren’t just fans of video games, though. They were also fans of Basketball and Football, and it was largely through their influence that I started to regain my interest in sports. The thing about sports is that they’re inherently social. They require a team of players to make them work, and it’s that sense of community that makes them popular among friends and people of different localities.
If you’re from Denver, you can bond over the Broncos, and it’s the same way with eSports. If you’re from North America, you can cheer for Team SoloMid. There are a lot of similar traits shared between sports and eSports, and whether or not you think that videogames can qualify as sports, you at least have to admit that there are a lot of similarities.
Sure, eSports might not involve traversing a field or carrying around a ball, but it does bring people together in the same way that sports does. The fact that I’ve regained my interest in sports and their competitive nature is proof of that. Regardless of whether or not eSports are sports, they’re both selling out arenas of like-minded fans, and that’s what’s important.
If eSports aren’t sports, that’s fine. If nothing else, maybe they can co-exist. As more people transition from fans of eSports to fans sports and vice-versa, I think it will become clearer just how similar the two are. I might not be as into sports as I used to be, but thanks to eSports, I’m on the way.