eSports in African schools

September 17, 2017

It’s eSports generation where some things are a little different from a lot of teenagers, computers, headsets, and the action taking place inside a video game, welcome to eSports in African schools.Teenagers play action and adventure games usually Defense of the Ancients or League of Legends. In some cases, a panel of teenage analysts gives the pre and post game assessments, a panel of teenage commentators gives the play by play throughout the game and sometimes, there are even cheerleaders. Oh you still doubt me? You better believe there’s a pro level. Take two seemingly different concepts, that is School and eSports. Until social media came, few of us would have ever thought that we would ever interact with each other positively.The idea of eSports having a place in schools has been gaining more and more traction. Already in countries like Finland and Norway, high schools have already integrated it into their curriculum. In Asia, South Korea is offering undergraduate degrees that study the eSports industry. In Africa, some schools and colleges have featured eSports in their annual intramural week for the past few years and in some schools it has become a permanent fixture.With such an increase in general exposure for eSports, others are bound to follow suit. Such is the chain reaction nature of popular culture.Some schools especially privately owned in different parts of Africa have added eSports to its list of events. In one event your blogger is aware, it featured students from the various year levels battling it out on the digital arena playing games such as Defense of the Ancients all in parallel to other ongoing sporting events.This wasn’t the first time a school in Africa had pushed for an eSports related event. Time and time again, on-campus gaming events are proposed but a lack of school support has hindered them from becoming big or even happening.It is just a matter of time before School eSports Leagues kick off across Africa with more students taking to their mouse and keyboards in a team competition that could span weeks. Would be nice to see High school teams play League of Legends, one of the world’s most popular computer game titles.One of the person involved in planning such a tournament is adamant that eSports deserves recognition and respect from the rest of the sporting community. Of cause your blogger does that.He said biggest challenge was convincing public and regulators that it was a sport.”We have to go through a period of advocating the pros with government agencies and that it should be recognized as a sporting activity.”How are games like Chess, Darts or someone riding a horse around a track a sport, versus something where you have a team of several people with a coach, who are practicing on a regular basis, who are mentally and physically applying themselves in a competition?,” he added.

However, he said it’s not governments technocrats prerogative to determine what constitutes a sport and regulators do not make the call to either recognize or not recognize an activity as a sport.According to a study in South Africa, the pulse of an eSport athlete can reach heights similar to that of a marathon runner.They also utilize exceptional motor skills, achieving up to 400 movements per minute on their keyboard or mouse. In terms of its global brand, eSports is making a push to be included in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, as well as the 2024 Summer Olympics.The viewership figures for the final of the League of Legend world championships last year was 36 million compared to roughly 30 million for game seven of the 2016 NBA finals that pitted Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.Some do not understand why eSports was allowed to join the school sporting calendar. In some schools, the inclusion of eSports has caused controversy with some members of the staff and students during school sporting events. Being an event focused on sports, many do not expect video games to be part of it. Teachers on the other hand, particularly sports division, welcomed the idea of having eSports events. Most of them think that the inclusion of eSports will give students who are not particularly athletic a chance to contribute and be a part of their effort.Allowing eSports in schools was unheard of in Africa just five years ago. However, many people think eSports being considered as part of the school sporting calendar is already an amazing move on its own. There is huge support for school administrations that initiates such. Also, it’s great that some teachers also engage and play eSports and help in setting up the venue. In my view, more schools in Africa should be taking eSports seriously. It’s close to an actual sport already. It deserves to have a place in the sporting calendar just like football, tennis etc. Having such events will bring out the gamer demographic in droves, attracting the attention of people both young and old.As students and teachers involved have shown, the general consensus is that the eSports events are enjoyable and should be a regular happening.Me think that eSports events give school goers gamers some time to shine, it is awesome idea that they be given the chance to compete in the stuff youngsters like and for spectators and competitors alike, eSports by all respects is fun.As the trend continues, I have no doubt that we will see more and more eSports events pop up around African schools and the spread to where competitive gaming get started, the grassroots. Must also admit that i horned my computing skills as a teenager and would be glad to see the teenagers of today given a chance to horn their eSports skills.

Contador Harrison