DIGITAL ATHLETE

THE RISE OF THE DIGITAL ATHLETE

With the ever changing world of technology, the definition of what it means to be an athlete is also changing.
I wrote my story on eSports because I wanted to show how similar they are to everyday sports. It is not a topic you hear about every day. #outsidethebox #PCMasterRace

STORY AND PHOTO BY DARASHEA GREGSON



A lone soldier finds himself wandering the wreckage of what remains of his world. Climbing the next hill he hopes for a better sightline but all he sees are more burning buildings. The smoke is thick in the air and as the wind dies down it becomes harder to see. The soldier begins calling for his friends. He hears nothing but a slight ringing in his ears. Suddenly, he sees someone in the distance, and hears a shot ring out. It has landed in his chest. The soldier falls to the ground. You see the words game over fade onto your screen. The excitment from the commentators flows into the crowd.

A wide variety of eSports have become a growing pastime for many people in North America. With more tournaments every year, it is becoming incredibly easy to join in the games.

Surprisingly traditional sports and eSports do share some similarities. One is that both games have announcers. One is a colour announcer, giving you background on the players and what their previous accomplishments are and what it means for their current competition. There is also have your play by play announcer whose job it is to go through every moment of the game and say what is happening on screen.

Their jobs are to make watching the game just a little more enjoyable. Donghun Lee and
Linda J. Schoenstedt, completed a study on the comparison of eSports and traditional sports consumption motives. The study found many similarities. The first thing they found is both sports are highly competitive. You need countless hours to become a professional at your craft. They say competition is one of the three impact factors for eSports game playing. It is important for eSports gamers to be better than others, to win over others and to be faster and more skilled in their game experience. This finding says competitiveness of eSports games needs to be continuously cultivated and optimized. Compared with traditional sports competition is what makes participants play and train harder.

The second thing they found is knowing many other people playing eSports is likely to encourage individuals to play. It is reasonable to assume eSports games have become a socially accepted leisure activity. Just like any other traditional sports, you want to be able to enjoy activities with your friends. The last thing they found to be the same is honing one’s skills. Players of both sports practice their skills until perfection, hammering out every flaw that could hinder their game play. This however is where the similarities end. Brandon Norris has worked behind the scenes for eSports as an analyst for two teams. What that means is he would do a lot of math for the teams in analyzing their equipment and valuing it with various other tasks. “Professional sport teams may have a psychologist trained to work with the athletes when they have problems. But professional gamers do not have that luxury. They also work longer days than some professional athletes with practicing their craft 14 hours a day,” said Norris.

A study done by the Nottingham Trent University states if a professional video gamer is training for eight hours a day they are not playing enough. Some players must play a minimum of 50 hours a week, but most will play more. Playing more comes with a downside.

“Some may say that it is just as tiring as your traditional sports,” said avid eSports fan Alex Malcolm.

Players of eSports can face physical ailments like deep vein thrombosis, carpal tunnel or back strains, however, eSports players also have a difficult workout regime.

One difference is that athletes are found to have relationships and get married. The study said the higher you go in professional gaming the less likely you are to have relationships. This is because gaming takes up more of your time in training than any other activity and you have to start cutting things out of your life if you want to be the best.

The differences keep stacking up. When you want to watch a sport game you have to pay to watch any of your favorite sport team and it is hard to find it aired for free. You have to pay for your cable subscription and for additional channels on for your package. In eSports that is drastically different here in North America, you can usually find people playing games in competitions online for free. Never having to leave your home to watch a sport you love.

GUY



“It’s a way I can spend time with my brother and friends. We might not play on a professional level but it is still an enjoyable game to play.”

ALEX MALCOLM


In Korea they have entire stadiums built just for fans to watch their favorite eSports competitions.

Norris says we are drastically behind Korea because they have been doing this since 1999 and it is generally better accepted in their culture to want to become a pro gamer where here it is a bit of an unrealistic goal.

Norris was drawn to the world of eSports because it was a much more welcoming environment.

“Nerds are a lot calmer than your typical sports fan,” said Norris.

The events can be less physical between fans than a traditional sporting event. Where they might break into a brawl at a football game Norris has heard nothing of that happening at an eSports event.

Malcolm is an avid fan of eSports and believes that they are a way for a larger group of people to enjoy sports and play sports.

“It’s a way I can spend time with my brother and friends. We might not play on a professional level but it is still an enjoyable game to play. It also helps you appreciate more fully the kind of work that really goes into these kind of events,” said Malcolm.

Malcolm says a larger range of people can participate in eSports like people with mild physical limitations. Malcolm also says that he thinks that people enjoy watching eSports the same amount as regular sports because you don’t have to leave your bedroom or own cable. You can watch competitions online.

There are many types of people who can participate in eSports that could not play on traditional sport teams.

For example, if you are transgender you may not be allowed to compete on any Olympic sports teams. The area of transgender in the Olympic guidelines is a little fuzzy. Essentially what they say is that there are two categories of people competing. Men and women. They have a genetic testing to ensure that the athlete is put in the correct category. For most transgender men and women this means they are put in the gender they were born with.

In traditional sports you always have the separate gender teams on the grounds that men are stronger than women. And to protect women from the extra damage that might happen to them they divide the genders.

This does not happen in eSports. You can see men and women competing together on the same team. You can even have transgender players on a team. In eSports you can be whatever you want to be.

One example of this is a girl, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn she is a transgender that is a professional Starcraft 2 player on Team Expert. She is a Canadian player who most recently made it to the quarter finals in the 2016 World Electronic Sports Games in Changzhou, China.

The next time you log on to a game and carefully choose your character becoming that evil wizard for just a few hours and causing chaos as you cast your spells and hoarding treasure. Remember that whether you play professionally or just for fun you can always enjoy a good game with your friends, GG.

Slang

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