Does Athlete=Gamer?


Dresdene Smith, Staff Reporter

As the popularity of video games continues to grow, more people are starting to consider this form of gaming as a sport. After all, it does require a high level of skill and concentration which is a big part of sports. A sport is a contest in which people participate in a physical activity, compete against each other, and follow certain rules. Though video games do require lots of skill and quick reflexes in the fingers, professional video gaming does not require the physicality of sports. Being able to quickly move your thumbs does not make you an athlete.  

Playing video games is not a sport, but a hobby. It is a pastime activity that people engage in when they are bored or when they want to relax and play with friends. The difference between a sport and a competitive hobby is the amount of physical exertion involved. Many people choose video games as hobbies because they do not involve physical movement. Video games are not recommended because they encourage sedentary lifestyles that numb people to the world around them. According to sciencedaily, “….video games can alter our experience of reality and numb us to important real-life experiences”. Real-life experiences such as, participating in physical sports or even just regular household activities. 

Prior to the emergence of the personal computer, sports were primarily defined by the amount of physical and mental strength required to master an activity and gain excellence. However, mental exertion cannot be compared to physical exertion. Video games require mental exertion only while conventional sports require both mental and physical exertion. Sports can help you improve your concentration and keep you mentally sharp as you age. Although some video games do the same, they simply cannot compare to the physical effect of sports. The lack of physical exertion in video games denies them the opportunity to be considered a sport.

Real sports like swimming and football help people get exercise and stay healthy, unlike video games. People often sit for many hours playing video games, and it does not really require much physical activity. Playing video games for a very long time can even cause issues such as eye-discomfort, blurry vision, and headaches. Max Fletcher, an online gamer, feels as though gaming shouldn’t be considered a sport.

“As much as I enjoy video games, they are not a sport. If anything, playing video games all day is only damaging us.” Fletcher said.

Not only do people fail to understand that video games cannot be considered a sport because of lack of physical exertion, but also lack the application of athletic ability. Players do not need to possess any athletic ability in order to participate in tournaments. The only real physical part of gaming is the movement of the player’s fingers on their controller or keyboard. Ramon Sánchez, an athlete at UACHS, agrees that video games should not be put under the category of sports. 

“I do not think gaming is a sport. Sitting at a computer desk all day is not physical, and should not be considered physical,” Sanchez said.  

The skills needed to play video games are developed more mentally than physically. Athletic prowess is achieved by undergoing brutal sessions of physical and mental conditioning for a certain period of time. Athletes regularly test the limits of their abilities by enduring the pain of suffering life-threatening injuries. It is somewhat unfair to them that actual sports and gaming are being compared. 

The issue of classifying video games as a sport or not, is highly controversial, but it needs to be discussed. Video game tournaments have rules, people compete against each other, and excellence requires significant amounts of training, skills, strategy, and coordination. Although the mastery of video games requires great amounts of mental exertion, dedication, and training, the little physical activity involved disqualifies them from receiving the sport status. 

So next time you pick up a controller, know you are not an athlete, but have fun anyway.