E-Sports vs. Sports

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I love competition, and I’m definitely not the only one. Sports are a fantastic way to supplement our competitive spirit. We love to cheer on our favorite teams and watch the opposition lose in agonizing defeat. And while I’ve always enjoyed watching traditional sports, I don’t really follow the players and the teams.

This year is the first year I’m managing my own fantasy team for American football. So far I’ve achieved a 2 and 0 record with a projected third week win. I have a rough idea of what I’m doing but I’m not totally confident in my managing ability. And while this fantasy team has me following football better than any other year previously, I just don’t have the same passion or engagement as I do with my other competitive love.

E-Sports.

E-Sports is short for “electronic sports”. This term encapsulates the entirety of competitive video gaming. The biggest e-Sports being played right now are, DOTA 2, League of Legends and Starcraft 2 for the PC. Now the reason I feel more engaged and passionate about e-Sports is twofold. In traditional sports, it’s much harder for someone to start or join a team and compete in the sport they love. E-Sports on the other hand, are video games available to and played by the public. Often times these games have competitive ladders for players. These ladders and tournaments are the same ones being played by the professionals. What this means is that e-Sports are more readily available and playable to the general public than traditional sports. As long as you have the drive and the skill, you can play on the same level as a professional player.

The second reason is the ability to understand the game not from just a spectator standpoint, as is the case with football, but from a player standpoint. Because the games you’re watching are also the ones you’re playing, you have personal experience to be able to draw from and understand the game better.

Let’s take a look at football and League of Legends and use those as examples to examine our ability to understand, sympathize and enjoy the game. Football is a very select sport. Only the best of the best can play and spectators will never understand what it’s like to be the player. Even though we understand when an incredible play is being made, we can only compare it to what we’ve seen. We can never understand it from the perspective of a professional football player because we’ve never been in that environment or have played with the exact rules that the NFL uses. We lose a whole dimension of competition.

Now look at League of Legends. The game that you watch during the World Series is the exact same game that you’re playing. You have experience playing the same champions, with the same rule sets and on the same playing fields. You have a whole level of knowledge as it pertains to the game from your own experience to better appreciate the professional level.

To me, this is what makes e-Sports more exciting and invigorating to watch. I can watch the game knowing how difficult it is to pull off the combo I just saw. I can appreciate the necessary team work and map control that it requires to accomplish a victorious team fight. It’s a matter of understanding it better because it’s the same thing I play at home. E-Sports is continuing to grow, and for good reason. It’s dynamic and inclusive. Players get to experience the game on a whole new level, both in watching and participating.

This is the first part on a series revolving around my passion for e-Sports. Next time, I want to talk about how e-Sports will become the next big competitor to American Football, here in the United States, and Football around the rest of the world. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive the next part!