E-sports are real sports

With the coming of October, the baseball postseason begins, the NBA season begins, Halloween is coming up, and League of Legends goes underway on Thursday, Oct. 6. League of Legends is for the most part looked down upon by the fans of traditional sports as a game.
Its lack of physical activity leads many to believe that the players aren’t putting in the same effort that football and basketball players do. However, professional League of Legends players are putting in practice times that other sports simply don’t match and while the physicality of it as an e-Sport isn’t at the same level, mentality takes its place as a huge factor in the gameplay.
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, and it requires five people on a team working together to kill their virtual enemies and destroy what is called the enemy nexus. The five players are divided into five different roles – the top-laner in one lane, the mid-laner in another, the attack damage carry and support which share the bottom lane, and the jungler who roams in between, helping other lanes get ahead.
Along with killing enemies, there are also the dragons and barons, depleting mini-bosses to gain buffs to destroy towers and inhibitions that defend the nexus all to win the game.
One of the common arguments against e-Sports as a legitimate sport is that it’s a video game, simply put. Professional players put in 50 hours per week minimum playing the game in various forms. This includes Solo-Queue, which is playing alone or with one other person against other random people to climb the ladder, and playing against other teams in a pseudo-professional setting to practice legitimate strategies as a team.
Players also review videos of their games in order to figure out what they can improve on. Three years ago, North American team Cloud9 did an interview with Playboy Magazine to talk about what it took to be a professional player, which included playing 12 hours a day. The article also focused on mid-laner Hai “Hai” Lam and his collapsed lung, which caused him to miss out on the 2014 All-Star event. Even from the hospital, Lam had to play League of Legends for five hours at a time so he wouldn’t lose his mojo.
Another story comes from Peter “Doublelift” Peng. Now a North American legend, he started from humble beginnings. In his pursuits when he was younger, he got kicked out of his house for wasting his time on League of Legends at 18 years of age. In his time sleeping on a bench without a home he made a post on the massively popular online forum for the game on Reddit. Thousands of dollars came in aid from people across the country and League of Legends Journalist Travis Gafford took him in and taught him life skills while he practiced at League. They remain friends to this day and Peng is representing the very best of North America in Team SoloMid at the World Championship.
The pinnacle of League of Legends, as well as other e-Sports like Starcraft II and DoTa 2, is in South Korea. KESPA, the Korea e-Sports Association was established in 2000 and as of 2012 it manages over 25 different e-Sports in the country. Team Liquid in North America was able to elaborate on the differences in work ethic between American and Korean players since Chae “Piglet” Gwan-jin and Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun had moved to play in NA. Piglet, a former world champion, was described to push the physical boundaries for how much a person can practice in an interview with Business Insider. Oftentimes he sleeps only four hours a night and practices 14 hours during the day. The three-time League of Legends World Champion Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok practices up to 15 hours a day himself, and he stated that his passion for the game remains beyond that level. After the World Championships, he was permitted to go on what he regards as a “long vacation” which is truly only two weeks long.
Faker will be representing the defending champions in SK Telecom T1 as the second seed from Korea. Other notable teams to play are Longzhu Gaming, Team SoloMid, Gigabyte Marines and the Season 1 World Champions Fnatic from Europe. This tournament already looks like it’s going to be the most competitive one yet. Coverage began on Oct. 6 and will last until Sunday Oct. 22.