Limpag: Esports

Mike T. Limpag

ALMOST all sports activities are on hold right now, but I think it’s also safe to say that almost all of us are picking up some new sport or sports activity.

I’m talking about esports or gaming. Though some scoff at the thought of calling it sports and calling gamers athletes—the same way some scoffed at calling chess a sport—but let’s face it, esports is here to stay.

Already a part of the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games, esports is being eyed to be part of the Olympic program in Paris 2024. But I don’t know how the postponement of the Tokyo Games will affect that. Including esports in the Olympics is a smart money move by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since we all know it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry and has the demographic that the IOC is after.

The importance of such demographic was highlighted by the leader of bowling’s push to get to the Olympics. After what was a sure 2020 stint was turned down, the leader (sorry, I forgot the name) wrote a touching letter and said he doesn’t know how to make the sport more popular to the youth.

That’s not a problem for esports. I think for some, it is the problem for esports as they think the youth is spending too much time playing over other things meaningful.

The Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) was about to include esports in its second semester events last school year, but that didn’t push through. However, will the changes in the sports landscape change perceptions anew and make esports more acceptable?

I know there are those who are not in favor of having esports in the program, but not me. I want Cesafi and other school-based leagues to adopt it to make it at least a school-based competition or to have some sort of academic control over the participants.

Billiards, that other sport long associated with juvenile delinquency, is now part of the Department of Education sports program and I hope DepEd will also look at esports the same way. Billiards, though, has still to get into the college program and I hope that if DepEd takes the lead, the college leagues will follow.

I mean, these days, everyone is into gaming to while away the time or to have some distraction, and it would be good for the leagues to have it in their program.