Gaming

Play League Of Legends And Go To College

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It’s truly a sign that e-sports are making their way into the modern age when top gamers are offered scholarships in exchange for their esteemed in-game status. Robert Morris University in Illinois has officially announced in a press release late last week that they will start offering scholarships for skilled League of Legend players. That’s right. You can now get a scholarship for being a great gamer.

RMU will be the first college to offer such a scholarship and students that qualify for said scholarship will receive up to 50% of their tuition and their room/board covered by it. The university has also created a League of Legends team that will compete with other schools in the Collegiate Starleague. The league is made up of teams representing schools throughout the United States and Canada and they will take part in the North American Champion. It will be like March Madness but much more exciting for the few of us who hold no interest in sports.

The internet has been taking this to much debate with many mixed emotions. And I understand because when I first heard that E-sports were going mainstream, I too was slightly offended. As a former hockey player, I remember the competitive edge that made me quit in the first place. It takes being fast on your hands and feet. It takes lots of strategy, planning, reacting and adapting to the situations, stamina, practice, and commitment to the activity in order to be good enough to compete. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve come to realize that online gaming isn’t like our parent’s game. I’ve watched the pro league players and I know that they share a lot of the same trait that conventional athletes have.

While some may say “Oh it’s just a video game” or “It’s easy and it doesn’t take any skill or hardwork,” – you are so, so wrong. And if you think that I am wrong, I say challenge a pro, or even a decent player and see how easy and unskilled gaming is. Pro players need to practice and have the dedication to become good in game. They need to know the ins and outs of the game, from knowing how each champion handles to knowing how to counter an opponent. I’ve seen pro-players study match videos of their opposing team in order to learn how their challenger works and put together their own sort of playbook to take home the win. It’s just the same way any other athlete or major league sports team would watch the opposing teams game reel before the big match.

Teams also meet up for practice in order to learn how to work as a team and improve their communication skills just the same way that a “real” athletic team would. Pro players also need to have fast reflexes and response time just to keep up with what is going on in the middle of the fray. One simple miscalculation in a team fight and it can cost a win.

You also need stamina because some matches can easily run well over 80 minutes long and after a while, you start to lose it both mentally and physically. You never really realize how much concentration you really need and you’ll be amazed at the amount of focus that takes place during a match. Especially in big tournament that offers lots of stress and sometimes audience distraction. Sure it’s not open heart surgery or gun to your head type of stress or pressure but it’s the same stress an athlete go through when the “Big Game” is on the line.

esports

Another thing that I have heard around the interwebz is “Well, they’re just NERDS! FAT LAZY NERDS that are going to get a free pass.” First, What’s wrong with being a nerd? Second, have people seen some of these E-Athletes? These aren’t the stereotypical “lives in their mom’s basement, plays D&D, has no friends and permanently stained cheetos hands” nerds. A lot of these pro players are actually in good shape because they know that not eating well and not being in a decent shape makes a person sluggish and the last thing they need while in the middle of a match is to be sluggish. Like I said, you need your wits about you to keep up with the pros. And it seems that a lot of people have the misconception of what a “nerd” is. Playing video games no longer makes you an outcast or a dork or a geek or that weirdo in your moms basement. Everyone plays video games! From the football quarterback to the guys that watch anime and even to the hot girl that works at the retail store. The times have changed nay sayers, the times changed indeed!

The last thing that I keep hearing is, “But it’s just a game. They shouldn’t get a scholarship for playing a game!” Well the same can be said about people that get scholarships for Baseball, Football, Basketball, etc. There are even tons of scholarships given for the strangest things such as Duck Calling, Liking Asparagus, and even just being a blonde.

Not everyone is good at sports, and not everyone is good at gaming. But this is a fine middle ground to start awarding recognition to the mental flexibility and concentration it takes to be a professional gamer in the e-sports world. Everyone has something that they’re good at or that they’re passionate it about and if it can help you pursue true happiness in life, then more power to you. With the rise in challenges and complexity of gaming, and even a rise in the fan bases as e-sports mainstreams further, it’s definitely about time that these League Players are recognized for their strengths and we’re hoping that other schools learn from RMU’s example and start doing the same.