Is Esports a Sport?

             Sports can be considered an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Obvious examples  include football, baseball, and soccer. You also have other sports like archery and golf which do not require as much physical exertion as sports like football, but certainly need a lot of precision and skill. This leads to an interesting question: what about Esports? Esports include a wide range of video games played at a highly organized and competitive level, and, in my opinion, they are indistinguishable from sports. In recent times, games like Counter Strike Global Offensive and Valorant have gained exponentially in popularity. Even here at Washington High School, the WHS Gaming/Esports Club has over 120 members in only its first year. Esports have a similar amount of mental and physical intensity compared to sports like football or baseball, and, arguably, they require more tactics and skills than sports like golf or archery. Therefore, it is clear that Esports are actual sports.

You can argue that Esports shouldn’t be considered a sport since they don’t require physical activity like football or other sports do. However, golf and archery are still considered sports, and they have a similar amount of movement to a person on a mouse and keyboard (or even less movement). A mouse and keyboard in a first person shooter game, for example, includes as much precision as golf or archery. Esports also have competitive institutions and leagues, just like USA Archery and the PGA Tour, and they even have leagues for minors. Not to mention, they will also be included in the Olympic Games starting in 2024. Furthermore, Esports viewership is higher than the NBA and MLB in the United States. 

Esports also includes fast callouts in positioning and socializing, and also proper team work just like any other sport. The Esports entertainment industry shows video games being played at the most competitive level, and some of the best talents for video games go up against each other just like in the MLB or the NFL. Kazou Whateley, the VP of the WHS Gaming/Esports Club and a former baseball player, states “these clear parallels with the mainstream sports leagues and Esports make it clear that Esports is a sport.” He adds,“[the word] ‘sports’ is in the name of  ‘Esports.’” 

On the other hand, some people argue that only certain Esports should be included under the definition of a sport. Jack Ten Bosch, who is on the Varsity Baseball team for Washington, says “I personally think that Esports should be a sport, but only certain games. I think the games that focus more on the competitive video games, and [are] slightly less broad [should be considered a sport], as some games lack the characteristics to be a sport in my opinion.”  You also have the people who think outright that Esports are not real sports. Emily Geck from the Varsity Softball team says a sport requires physical movements, and Esports does not fill that criteria. 

I would have to disagree with this opinion: the people who say that Esports lack physical movement need to question why golf and archery are considered sports and can debut at the Olympics, but a sport like Esports cannot. It’s only a matter of time before most people see Esports as an actual sport. It has seen exponential growth over the past decade, and especially due to COVID-19 and quarantine, it is a growing industry with many multi-million dollar leagues such as FaZe and Cloud9. All of these correlations with sports makes it definitive that Esports should be considered a sport. 

Aansh Sharma is a junior at Washington High School. He grew up in Munich, Germany and Mumbai, India and then Fremont, California. This is his first year at the Hatchet. His interests are running the Gaming Club and reporting on the local news. He also likes to play video games. He would like to get a job in Computer Science to allow him to support himself. While Computer Science seems boring, he will try to have fun with it despite that, and also distract himself with gaming sometimes.

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