HBO Real Sports Panel is Wrong About eSports and Why It Matters

Only recently a program on HBO ignited a debate that has sometimes been questioned in the past; can eSports actually be counted among sports? What was more appalling is that the HBO Real Sports panel that sat discussing the merits and demerits of eSports only mocked competitive gaming.

Though there was Soledad O’Brien the co-host who defended eSports by stating that it just requires strategy and physical exertion on a lower level, the idea was generally dissed.

Former tennis player and sportscaster Mary Carillo said that she had no idea that eSports existed and went on to say that “it’s still not a sport. It’s a game.”

Even more ridiculous were Fox News correspondents Bernard Goldberg and Frank Deford, who were sitting at the panel. The two were actually cracking jokes about Star Trek conventions and calling the millions of people who follow eSports events “crazy.”

As far as the latter are concerned, the duo needs to understand that it is millions of people they are talking about and that deserves respect. You cannot just go ahead and call someone crazy just because you don’t agree with them.

Moreover, isn’t the world changing now? There are grey areas everywhere. Who says something that isn’t totally physical cannot be a sport? If someone doubts that, they should first question why Chess is regarded as a recognized sport by the International Olympic Committee.

That being said, the literal definition of a sport insists that it need to have a physical element, skill and a set of rules governing it.

If the folks who were sitting at the HBO, Real Sports panel had experienced the eSports themselves, they would have understood that physical exertion exists in eSports albeit on a lower level. It is a hard-earned skill otherwise everyone would have been able to beat the professionals and lastly, competitive gaming has extensive set of rules to it.

Add to that the element of competition that is present in the events, and it matches the intensity of any other sport being played. To me, it is as much of a sport as any other game just that it is different from what the conventional perception of sports is.

What is your take on this?