Gamers: Video games=sports


Ashley Sokolowski

Members of AACC’s eSports Club say they consider themselves athletes and their computer games sports.

Tommy Parker, Sports Co-Editor

Members of AACC’s eSports Club said in November they  consider themselves as athletes playing a sport.

“No one’s going to argue that normal sports take more physical activity,” said eSports Club coach Conway Johnson. “But I’m not convinced sports are 100 percent about physical ability.”

AACC Athletics announced this semester that it will include esports as an official college sport within the next couple of years.

In an informal Campus Current poll of 20 AACC athletes in October, basketball, soccer and volleyball players argued that esports is not a true sport and its players are not athletes.

But eSports Club members said they disagree.

“What we do is a mix of mental and physical reactions to situations,” said fourth-year music student Dallas Coleman, a club member. “I believe members of our team are athletic.”

Second-year game art student Hunter Campbell said he doesn’t care what other athletes have to say.

“We are a team that plays competitively,” Campbell said. “We train, we have strategies, we have everything a sports team has, just in a different environment.”

Major sports media platforms like ESPN and Bleacher Report are starting to cover esports and consider their participants athletes.

“We usually put in about 20 to 30 hours a week in practice,” Coleman said. “We run the numbers, practice our strategies. … It’s just a different way of thinking about being athletic.”

Johnson said even though esports players exert less physical effort, the games still require them to possess substantial dexterity to operate at a high level of play.

Other AACC teams have uniforms, gym space and a page on the AACC Athletics website.

“I like the idea of a uniform and a page on the website,” Campbell said. “It would bring in a lot of recognition and would be a way to advertise for teams.”

Coleman said the club might not need space in the gym, just a room with power outlets, a projector and ethernet.

Johnson said having uniforms and a page on the website would “be really, really cool.”

“Having stuff on the website and uniforms … would go a long way toward looking a little more serious,” Johnson said. “[It] will attract more players and give them a reason to stick around.”

Coleman said uniforms would be a nice touch because professional esports teams have matching jerseys.

“The psychological element is every bit as strenuous as traditional sports, maybe even moreso,” he said.