Do eSports Have a Place in High School?

eSportsDue to the accessibility of online gaming, eSports have become a way of life for many people. Whether you’re watching them or participating, digital contests can be as invigorating as some of the most intense physical sports. Because of the incredible following that online competitions of this nature has, it might be a good idea to include eSports as part of the curriculum for high school. Before you scoff at this idea, let me explain how it could be done and still maintain an educational level.

Sportsmanship

In any given sport played by teens, coaches and instructors teach the value of sportsmanship. As many adolescents take to the Internet on a daily basis to play their favorite multiplayer online battle arena, they do not have the benefit of this instruction. In a lot of these cases, the teen has to rely on his or her own capabilities to judge right from wrong and learn from experience. This isn’t always a proper way for education.

Grieving
Those that know me are aware of how much I despise grieving in online games. As a parent, I go to great lengths to make sure my children understand that not everyone has the same skill level and sometimes you have a weak link. Instead of giving the bad player a worse time, exercise some leadership and help the person learn how to play. According to various studies, this actually increases the chance of winning a game even with a poor player. This is often the job of a coach as teens could learn the value of teamwork without grieving or letting their own tempers get the better of the situation.

Any high school coach worth his pay would never allow a teammate to berate another because of poor performance. It’s high school – time to learn discipline and improved teamwork. Those that play eSports could benefit from the teachings of a coach or other educator in the same fashion. Individuals may play well, but the game requires a team effort.

SportsmanshipGracious Winning and Losing
Again, what high school coach allows his or her team to berate the opposition after a win? This is common practice in eSports and reduces the confidence of the opposing players in profound ways. Although it might be just a game to you, it could be a teen’s method of gaining some reassurance through online social activities. Without the teachings of gracious winning and losing, confidence could easily turn into conceit altering how the teen views life in general.

Fitness

Like any other sporting activity, online gaming benefits from fitness. Everything from physical acuity to nutritional diets can affect game play. I’ll go deeper into this subject at a later date, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence that fitness improves mental prowess. As this is already taught in Physical Education classes, or at least is supposed to be, those serious in participating in eSports are already ahead.

Diet
Foods directly impact how we, as humans, think. In fact, allergies to the wrong kinds of foods can imitate mental disorders. By eating nutritional foods, the brain can process information better while having an improved memory. When it comes to eSports, this can be greatly beneficial especially given the amount of thought that goes into hand-eye coordination as well as building strategies in real-time.

Physical
The more physically fit a person is, the more resistant to injury he or she becomes. This can be very important considering the comfortability of some chairs. Sitting for extended periods of time can actually be harmful to the body. Keeping active can prevent back injuries, spasms and other complications. Although eSports may not be as demanding on the body such as football, the same adrenaline rush can be felt while cramps and tendonitis can be very debilitating depending on the severity.

Competitive Gaming

It’s More than Just an Online Game

A lot of people don’t take online gaming as seriously as others. Does that mean that it’s less important? Definately not. Instead of using brute strength to pound through the defensive line to score a touchdown, eSports requires intensive brain prowess to overcome the opposition. The same team environment is there, now high schools need to help provide the coaching.

Requiring Less Funding

One of the biggest reasons why schools discontinue certain activities is from the lack of funding. Participating in eSports requires far less funding and could even rely on a Bring-Your-Own-Device platform. Vast leagues of schools could participate regardless of size and location. Could you imagine a rural high school beating one within a large city?

Theoretically, National Championship seasons could include every high school within the United States without a single bus taking to the road. Every high school could be represented to truly demonstrate the best of the best. All it would take is a decent Internet connection – which most districts have anyway.

The only real reason to not include eSports in the curriculum of high school is personal politics. Teamwork, sportsmanship and even health can be taught while coaching gameplay within the environment. The difference is computers instead of shoulderpads as the same lessons can be taught for eSports as they are for basketball or soccer. Although organizations such as the HSEL have the right idea by creating an eSports League, more can be done in the way of support for growing this kind of education.

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Michael Brockbank

I have been playing games for more than 30 years. I wouldn't consider myself a hard-core gamer, but I have brought the pain in my day. Now that I am rounding the horn at 40, I still enjoy everything from booting up the old Commodore 64 to exploring new titles in Steam. You're never too old to enjoy a good plot and mind-numbing graphics.

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