eSports set to redefine athletics


The definition of a modern-day athlete is changing as eSports continue to rise in popularity.

Some people think being an athlete is about how high you can jump or how fast you can run but that’s traditional sports. eSports is becoming the new phenomenon because technology is the thing of today,” said Sheridan fitness coordinator Nadene Boothe.

Games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike run competitive leagues with hundreds of players from every continent. Since 2013, professional gamers have been recognized as athletes by the U.S. government.

Third-year student and Counter-Strike player, Stefan Barsony, agrees that professional gamers are athletes.

“eSports, no matter the game, falls under the team aspect. It takes time, heavy effort, team skills and dedication like normal sports. A lot of the people critiquing it are so used to traditional sports they haven’t educated themselves on eSports,” said Barsony.

Being a professional eSports player requires many mental and physical skills.

“Dexterity, hand-eye coordination, although you are using a controller you are still manouevring a person on the screen,” said Boothe.

You need to have team orientation, dedication, game sense, map awareness, and in-game strategies. Some players do 10 to 12 hours a day. That’s how they practise,” said Barsony.

Many players have quit school or work to make it as professionals. Players are forced to be sharpening their skills constantly in order to stay in a league.

“The physical and mental stress is the same in eSports because of jet lag, stress, and overtraining,” said Barsony.

Last year at the Dota 2 championship in Seattle the winning team took home more than $6 million.

This year for the first time an eSport, Counter-Strike, will be broadcast on live television. According to ELeague the games “will be staged, produced and promoted in a manner reflective of other major traditional American sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.”

eSports leagues are already run like traditional sports leagues. There are referees, coaches, uniforms, contracts and championship tournaments.

There are also amateur leagues that allow players to showcase their skills and grow as players.

The best players are then scouted and signed to professional teams.

League of Legends is one of the most popular eSports titles and according to developer Riot Games, League is played by more than 67 million players each month. Former NBA player and champion Rick Fox is now the owner of the League of Legends Championship Series team, Echo Fox.

“I have enjoyed getting back in a competitive environment and understanding how similar and how balanced the world I come from is with this world. Some people may not be aware of how the comparisons are on par but as an early entry individual from my background of sports to now be part of sports here I feel blessed,” Fox said in an interview on