By Tristan Price
COVID-19 has made many sports impossible to play safely, so Canterbury has had a lack of competitions. However, there was one particular tournament that did take place on the 20th of November, and you might have watched the live stream.
Those who witnessed it would have seen multiple games featuring experienced players and commentators discussing the results as they happened. This wasn't a tournament of soccer or hockey, but rather, a highly-contested video game: Smash Bros Ultimate.
This raises the question - should a video game be considered a sport?
Ali Arrhaoui, a grade 11 student and the creator and organizer of the tournament, as well as David Scott, a Lit teacher and former supervisor of the Smash Club, both think that video games should be considered a sport.
“I think anything competitive enough could be a sport," Ali remarked, "and in Smash Bros there’s a lot of thinking, adapting, mental focus, a lot of muscle memory and hand movements to play the game.”
When I interviewed Mr. Scott, he said that, “To ask what is sport, is almost like to ask what is art, and at its core premise sport is essentially one person competing against another person, and no one really can say what that means.
"If you’re going to talk about physical exertion," he pointed out, "no one would argue hockey is a sport, but what about darts? Darts has a league, darts has everything, but no one is breaking a sweat throwing darts at a board.”
He went on to say that darts do require accuracy and hand-eye coordination, but in e-sport games like Smash, Overwatch, and DOTA the coordination between the teammates and hand-eye coordination to what they have to do control-wise is “infinitely more complicated than darts.”
Phys-ed teacher John Corrente has a different view of what video games are.
“I define a sport as something where I do something to make an opponent physically move to an area in order to have the competition," he said. "So if I hit a tennis ball over the net and you have to get it, that’s a sport”.
Instead of saying that video games are a sport, he believes they should go under the category of “game,” which he defines as an activity where actions do lead to reactions, but the reactions aren’t physical enough. He believes that activities like golf, chess, and video games should be defined as games and not sports.
There are multiple opinions about video games and their similarities to sports. Some agree that video games should be a sport and some disagree, but whether you like it or not, video game tournaments are happening in the Canterbury community, and you can be sure that players are going to be as competitive as ever to win.