Right at the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I broke my foot and had to miss my entire volleyball season. I was devastated by the injury, and, even worse for the team, I wasn’t the only one sidelined. Throughout the season, my teammates got sick and injured, to the point that we rarely had a full team practice. These barriers highlight the limitations of traditional sports. E-sports, meanwhile, aren’t as dependent on a player’s condition, yet provide many of the same benefits as traditional sports. That’s why they should be considered real sports.
I’m not the only one who recognizes e-sports’ legitimacy. According to the gaming industry analytical firm Newzoo, e-sports is a $1 billion global industry. Professional gamers compete for up to $1 million in prize money. And more than 200 colleges offer e-sports scholarships. College e-athletes attend practices where they work on strategy and skills, just like traditional athletes.
Not only are e-sports legitimate sports, they also have advantages over traditional sports. Perhaps the most important benefit of e-sports is their accessibility. When I broke my foot, I was sidelined for just one season, but many people have disabilities and physical differences that prevent them from ever playing traditional sports. E-sports are more accessible than many other sports— there are even adaptations that let gamers use their voices to operate the controls. Opponents may claim that e-sports don’t provide the same physical workout as traditional sports. While it’s true that playing Fortnite might not leave you as sweaty as playing tennis, e-sports can improve your hand-eye coordination, focus, and cognitive abilities. Plus, e-sports athletes are much less likely to sustain debilitating injuries like concussions and broken bones than traditional athletes.
E-sports are much safer and more accessible than traditional sports yet still teach the importance of competition, collaboration, and strategy, which is why I believe they should be considered real sports.