Video Gamers are athletes too
By Rohit Pollock, Junior Writer
Imagine a scene in which many players compete in huge arenas. These players are cheered on by thousands of screaming fans with millions of dollars in prize money at stake. You’d assume that the scene would involve a ball of some sort, right? What if I told you that the players being cheered on were gamers with nothing but a controller in their hands?
A sport does not always have to have physical movements in order to be called a sport. Video games are a virtual sport. Perhaps not a physical sport, but it requires just as much skill and mental focus. It also requires strategy and played worldwide.
eSports or Electronic Sports is the competitive computer gaming that usually consists of professional video gamers. As with traditional sports, eSports consists of many different games such as Dota, League of Legends, Starcraft, and Counterstrike, but the most popular game out of all is League of Legends. Also, The US Government confirms League of Legends as a legitimate sport. Riot Games notoriously lobbied to acquire P-1A Visas for their pro gamers. P-1 A classification is available to athletes who are internationally recognized to come to US temporarily to participate in a specific athlete competition.
Athletes spend so many hours per day practicing their skills to master it so that during the games, they rely on the skills built up. Professional Video Gamers spend hours playing games to stay sharp on their skills, mentally plan strategies with non-stop action, and are able to react faster than your opponents.
The game called League of Legends has a professional scene as it's a five versus five match so that you have to cooperate with your team to fight against a team to destroy their base. So, I would be lying if I said that what they do is easy or could be done by the average person. It takes a lot of dedication to do what they do.
According to professional eSports coach, Dustin Browder, “These guys are athletes. There’s physical and mental conditioning to it. These guys are, in many cases, playing 12 hours a day to prepare for these matches, or even just constantly. These guys are training as hard as a regular athlete would to train for these things. They have to have the dedication and enthusiasm for it, and there’s a lot of coaching that goes on as well.”
Video game tournaments bring in viewers from every part of the world as they share the same love for their games, similar to viewers of more popular sports. Popular companies have even seen the growing popularity of eSports and started supporting them. For example, “Coca-Cola already inked a major partnership with Riot Games, sponsoring a new minor league of League of Legends where players can compete before going pro”.
Everything comes with a price. These Pro players also get paid for being in a team and playing in tournaments. Those pro gamers get paid just like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo get paid for playing soccer. Faker, also known as League of Legends God, is one of the best player of League of Legends and one of the most paid and valuable player of League of Legends just like Lionel Messi in Soccer. According to Reddit, Osen states that one streaming service offered Faker 500 million Korean Won (KRW) ($463,930) as a signing bonus and an annual salary of 200 million KRW ($185,572) while a different company offered him a transfer fee of 300 million won ($278,205) and a two year salary of 700 million won.
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