December 30, 2018

Esports: A teenage dream job come true?

Matt Saperstein ‘21

Image result for videogames

Relaxing on comfy chairs, playing games and making money – Esports are truly a teenage fantasy.
Competitive video gaming, also known as electronic sports or Esports, has recently become popular around the world. Individual gamers, as well as teams, compete against each other in popular games including “Fortnite,” “Call of Duty” and “Madden NFL.” Gamers can compete at organized tournaments or against other people right from their homes.
Recently, the National Basketball Association created an Esports basketball league for gamers called the NBA 2K league. In the league, each gamer plays as a user-created basketball player on a team associated with an existing NBA team in NBA 2K, a basketball video game. Teams compete against each other during a 17-week regular season prior to the playoffs.
Gamers are paid between $32,000 and $35,000 to play on their team and a gamer on the winning team stands to win $60,000.
Some Golda Och students had strong opinions on the topic of Esports.
“If you’re good at something and you can make a profession out of it, you should be able to get paid for it,” junior Noah Kamens said. “There's no reason for [gamers] not to get paid for what they're good at.”
Gamers getting paid to play in video game competitions brings up the question of whether competitive gaming falls under the category of sport. Currently, many people do not consider this new form of competition a sport.
Although ESPN has previously broadcasted The International, an annual, international video game competition, President John Skipper does not believe gaming is a sport.
“It’s not a sport, it’s a competition,” Skipper said. “Mostly, I’m interested in doing real sports.”
In terms of the school, Dennis Kozar, GOA’s new athletic director, somewhat agrees with Skipper.
“It’s a different type of sport,” Kozar said. “You are still involved in sports in some way, but you are not physically participating in anything.”
On the other hand, sophomore Andrew Steiner thinks what defines a sport is a competition that specifically involves physical activity.
Recently, colleges have started offering student gamers scholarships to play video games at their school. They have created varsity Esports teams for the gamers to play on.
“I think that’s cool because if there is a collegiate level [for gaming] it is the same thing as [common college athletics],” freshman Oren Ramer said. “So they should be able to get scholarships just like basketball players and football players.”
If Esports on college campuses succeeds, then the next logical step is bringing Esports to high schools.
Director of Technology at GOA, Mr. Adam Michlin, said it would be better to teach students in high school computer science using different video games. He thinks collaborative atmospheres are better than competitive atmospheres.
Some students, like sophomore Ari Bieber, noted the financial implications of bringing Esports to high school campuses.
“It is too expensive,” Bieber said, noting that he thinks it would just be unnecessary to bring Esports to high schools.
The majority of people surveyed said Esports could possibly be brought to our school in the future as a club.
“I think if there was enough interest it could start as a club,” Kozar said. “Then you would have to take it year by year and see if it [would] work [out].”
Some students believe there would be enough students interested in bringing Esports to GOA.
“In our school, there are a good amount of people who play video games,” freshman Inbar Adiel said. “In the future, it can definitely start as a club, like the girls lacrosse team.”

Until amateur Esports becomes more popular and is brought to more schools, the only place to participate in sports will be the playing field or on the court.

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