Since the early days of their inception, video games have often been treated with a negative stigma. For decades they have been discouraged and the demographics that enjoy them, ridiculed – hordes of loner nerds, hiding in basements, with no aspirations in life other than obsessing over the pixels on their monitors. Today, this bleak portrayal of the video game industry is fast becoming anything but the norm.
eSports are fast former a seismic movement in our society, now making in-roads on the world of televised sports coverage, video games, or rather eSports athletes are a thing. Professional, well-known eSports athletes are exactly that: Athletes. Strict diets, regular gym routines are all common practice amongst the eSports elite – a lot of work has been done to shake the stereotyped image of a grubby, mountain-dew glugging slob.
Just take a look at this video of professional CS:GO player Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski warming up:
pashaBiceps is about as far away from the introverted basement dweller as you can get and is by no means an isolated example. eSports athletes are taking great strides to ensure the outdated stereotype is no longer a thing you can say about gamers, or at least the professional ones. There will always be a handful of individuals who have no shame in conforming to the archaic image of video gamers – each to their own – but for the most part, that image is largely non-existent nowadays.
Additionally, eSports athletes are shown to be exposed to more stress and strain than in any other professional sport. Scientists at the German Sports University recently conducted a study of eSports professionals and found that the physical and mental capabilities of competitive gamers are comparable to the elite athletes of most other sports. The study went on to show that eSports athletes can achieve up to 400 movements on the keyboard and mouse per minute. This is four times as many as a non-gamer, placing a strain on cognitive abilities unrivalled by any other sport.
The asymmetrical movement of both the mouse and keyboard activates several areas of the brain at the same time, which in return leads to the release of the stress hormone cortisol, produced at rate similar to, if not exceeding, that of a race-car driver. Heart rates of pros can also be elevated as high as 160 to 180 BPM (beats per minutes) which can be compared to the heart activity of a runner during a marathon. If that isn’t demonstrating the capabilities of an athlete, I don’t know what is:
eSports athletes ARE real athletes. Though some people refuse to move into the 21st century and believe the truth in front of their eyes and cling to the belief that “video games are not real sports”, and well… that’s just fine. People are free to believe what they want, but any rational thinking will show that pro gamers can be proud to be classed as athletes. The eSports industry will casually continue forging the way for the future of competitive sport.