[the_ad_placement id=”banner-right-placement”]

[the_ad_placement id=”banner-left-placement”]

The truth about e-sports

It’s healthier than you think
Chester High School student Nick Matthews, an e-sports team member, plays in a match against other online players March 2. E-sports is an after school club initiated by instructor Brian Moreau. Photo by Kael Thomas

Have you ever wondered why so many people are interested in e-sports? Why teenagers are constantly talking about it? How about why so many people are doing nothing but playing a computer game? If so, this is the place for you to learn about what e-sports really is, and why it is healthier than you might think.

E-sports is a big up-and-rising interest, growing in popularity in recent years. Before we talk about how it grew, let’s talk about what it is.

E-sports (Electronic-sports) is commonly thought of as professional competitive gaming. Some call it a waste of time because it’s mindlessly looking at a screen and pressing buttons. Others think that it is a good way to pass time and have fun.

Neither of these is necessarily correct. E-sports is more than having fun or mindlessly pressing buttons. In fact, right here in Plumas County, there are four high school e-sport teams: Chester, Greenville, Portola, and Quincy, though only Chester is competing in tournaments.

E-sport teams typically consist of six players, although bigger schools tend to have more. Depending on the tournament game, only five to six of people are able to play. The competition involves teams playing against each other in matches. Depending on the game, one match could range from one round to three rounds taking anywhere from five to 40 minutes to complete. Whichever team wins the tournament or competition wins an assortment of prizes, including T-shirts, mouse pads, headphones, and more.

E-sports is more like other sports than people may think. All sports require team building exercises, practice, and physical exercise. E-sports have the same requirements – yes, even physical exercise – along with mental exercise. Many e-sports teams warm up by stretching and doing jumping jacks to clear their minds and get motivated.

Team coordination is one of the biggest parts of playing in these competitions. Team members have to constantly communicate to each other about what’s happening, what strategy to use, and the best actions to take to win.

I asked Trey Farris, the supervisor for the Greenville High School team, about the attitudes of the players

  “They have a lot of fun, they never get down on each other. These players are all around positive about playing,” he said.

I asked my own team the question “What does e-sports do for you?”

Here are some of their answers: “E-sports gives me something to do after school.” “E-sports gives me a reason to play with my friends and have fun.”

Speaking from personal experience, e-sports is like any sport: Each member listens to the team captain. There is team cooperation. No one fights with other team members, and everyone has a generally good time.

The second major part in e-sports is hand-eye coordination, possibly the biggest factor of all. Hand-eye coordination increases the accuracy of hitting a target and, increases reaction time. Improved hand-eye coordination isn’t just an asset for e-sports either. It helps with day-to-day life — catching small objects for example, such as keys when they are thrown to you, or playing catch with a baseball or tennis ball. Hand-eye coordination is a big part of life in general. Video games help increase this skill because of the pinpoint precision and accuracy they require. E-sport members need to enhance this skill to be good team players.

Games that are in the tournaments are also heavily hand-eye coordinated. Nick Matthews, my teammate, said, “League (the short term for the popular game League of Legends) requires much more hand-eye coordination than Overwatch,” another popular game. League is the current game being used in the tournament my own team is participating in. Both games were used in past tournaments.

A third major part of e-sports is critical thinking. Critical thinking plays a big role for e-sport players and teams, because it is what they need to form strategies. No matter what kind of game you play, whether it’s physical or online, strategy is at the center of all of it. It takes critical thinking skills to come up with strategies that help the team win.

“League is also a lot more strategy heavy,” said Dylan Silva, another teammate. E-sport tournaments consist of games known for requiring strategy, teamwork, and hand-eye coordination. High school teams, like other sports, have requirements for joining.

“The same academic requirements apply: at least a 3.0 gpa, and no more than one F,” said Farris.

Not only is e-sports healthy, but it is financially booming. Some players make $12,500 as a minimum in a 28-match season. With how popular gaming has become in recent years, more and more e-sport competitions and teams are developing.

E-sports has been around for longer than most think. The big rise started in the 2000s, but e-sports was a thing for much longer than that.

It all started back in October of 1972, when Stanford University made a gaming competition with a prize of a one-year subscription to Rolling Stones magazine. The game used in that competition was called Space War. The 1980s saw the first major gaming competition. With an audience of 10,000 participants, it achieved widespread media attention for the game Space Invaders, which was also a household game. Once the Internet came about, the e-sports industry started to rise, with many competitive games coming out regularly. Today it has become a major industry that even gives out scholarships for players.

At the end of the day, e-sports is just like any other sport — and it’s something introverts like me can enjoy.

[the_ad_placement id=”banner-left-placement”]