I haven’t blogged in a while. In fact I thought I was going to give up on blogging all together, but recent events have driven me to the point of needing a good old fashioned rant.
I’m not a sports fan. Hell, I’m not even an eSports fan. MOBAs just confuse me. But there’s an aura around them, something electric that pulls you in even when you have no idea what’s going on. It’s a connection I feel with eSports but not traditional sports, why? Who knows. That isn’t the point.
Covering eSports from a journalistic point of view is an absolute blessing. You have passionate fans, passionate developers, and energy is high. Sure, there’s money on the line but it isn’t about the money, it’s about the game. And yet, there are people out there who complain. ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd recently said he would rather retire than ever cover a video game. These comments come after ESPN 2 aired the Heroes of the Dorm finals over the weekend. This is the second time ESPN has aired an eSports competition. Sadly there aren’t any viewer numbers right now but during the event ESPN was a trending topic on Twitter.
So what is it about eSports that gets “real” sports fans so riled up?
1. It’s just a video game
The “just a video game” industry brings in double the revenue that the film industry does. It is a massive market that everyone is trying to get a piece of, including the sports industry.
2. Video Games aren’t a real sport
Why aren’t they a real sport? Because it’s not a physical test? Should we just get rid of golf then? How about horse racing? I mean they’re just sitting on the horse. It’s the horse doing all the work. Nascar! That can’t be a sport. You just sit in a chair and go in a circle really fast a few hundred times! My point is, these are all clearly defined as sports and all require the same amount of physical stress that eSports do. It’s a game of tactics. Do you wear your horse out before you round the first turn or do you go the slow and steady route with a burst of speed at the end? When do you make a move for the opposing team’s nexus? There isn’t really any difference between the two.
Yeah, I honestly don’t know any other reasons why supposed adult sports journalists are throwing tantrums. And that is exactly what Colin Cowherder did. He’s threatening to pack up his toys and leave so no one can play with them. Why? I can only assume it’s because like so many older people he has this prejudiced view about video games. He has a very limited understanding of what gamers are and that colors his entire experience. It’s like judging the entire sports industry on one kid playing dodgeball.
Things weren’t all just anger though. A lot of people tuned into ESPN 2 to discover Heroes of the Storm was playing and they got confused. Most people had no idea what they were watching but commented that people were really into it, and they were! These were a bunch of college kids being watched by people of all ages in what basically amounts to the gaming world’s March Madness. Confusion is good though! Confusion isn’t flat out rejection. I hope that people watched the finals and even if they just went to look it up on Wiki they investigated. Knowledge is the real power behind defeating the judgemental attitudes that sports elitists are displaying. Colin Cowherder wants to leave because he has to cover video games? Go ahead. ESPN will replace you with someone younger with an open mind and understands what eSports really mean while also being able to expertly cover more traditional forms of sports.
That’s the video of Colin Cowherder’s comments on ESPN radio thanks to SportsGrid. I thought right before I watched it, I thought my anger was gone. I thought I was calm but oh my blood is boiling again.
“I will quit this network if I am ever asked to cover that.” Why? I really wish I could just ask him. What is so offensive? Based on his tone of voice he’s offended. He’s offended it ever got anywhere near him.
“Somebody lock the basement door at mom’s house and don’t let them out.” I know, he’s old and completely clueless but wow, he’s playing on the old stereotype of nerds in their parent’s basement? He shows how completely out of touch he is by saying that he tolerated Donkey Kong. We’re talking about the 80’s now! Have sports not changed at all in 30 years? Of course they have.
He continues by making fun of how intense the crowd is. Like people don’t get excited during baseball games. And this is what bothers me the most. He’s not only putting down the millions of people who were watching the finals but he’s also putting down everyone who competed. I decided to look Colin up on wiki, I’d never heard of him before today. Turns out this isn’t the first time foot has been inserted in mouth. But what stood out to me most is that he went to Eastern Washington University for a BA in Radio-Television. That was in 1985. I wonder how long it took him to pay back his college debts. After last weekend there are 5 guys from Berkeley who don’t have that concern anymore, all because they played a video game in their momma’s basement.