Growing up, I was part of a family full of men who really — and I mean REALLY — loved sports, particularly football… the American kind. My dad was a huge fan of Notre Dame; something I never understoond since he was from Texas and I’m pretty sure he’d never stepped foot in Indiana in his life. (He was also raised Southern Baptist and not Catholic and was maybe like a sixteenth Irish at best, so go figure.)

I remember football season at my parents’ house being some of the most boisterous times we had. Being a nerd — and an introvert — I wasn’t really big on this whole sports thing. It was noisy — often in an angry way — and seemed to require the involvement of a lot of people that at the time I was pretty certain I wouldn’t get on with. I simply didn’t get all the excitement and… the yelling.. Seriously, what was that all about?


Every year, when Thanksgiving rolled around and my father and brothers settled in for a long day of yelling at their favorite teams on the TV, I’d head upstairs to watch cartoons or play video games. I seriously just didn’t get it.

Even after spending nine years in marching and pep band, which required me to attend football and basketball games every week, I still didn’t get it.

I just didn’t get it…

Until one day I did.

About five years ago, I picked up watching StarCraft 2 matches at 4:00 AM with some of my SC2 obsessed friends. I wasn’t crazy into it, but it was a good time and as I watched I found there were specific players I looked forward to watching. I’d also taken to watching the BlizzCon WoW tournaments.

Then, two years ago, I was invited to attend my first live eSports event when Hi-Rez held the SMITE Launch Tournament. Without realizing it, I found myself picking the teams I wanted to root for, cheering them on, getting upset at botched play, and generally becoming emotionally invested.

Now, I’m preparing to attend the SMITE World Championships, something has become an annual event for me due in part to my living in the same city in which it takes place. I watched the entirety of the Super Regionals on Twitch, and I’m ready to go.


But even knowing I was planning to attend SWC, it didn’t hit me until recently that I finally get where all the sports fans I’ve known throughout my life are coming from. I was watching the BlizzCon Heroes tournament livestream with a friend. This was his first year watching a MOBA event and I found myself explaining the basics to him as we watched.

That’s when it hit me. Here I am explaining the mechanics of a competitive game to someone who is unfamiliar with it as we watch — a lot like those times where my sports-loving friends would sit patiently and explain what was going on on the field and what some flag or hand gesture or something else meant. I’m filling him in on what he needs to pay attention to to follow everything and giving him the scoop on the teams. He’s asking me questions about various things and nodding and going “Oh!” every so often. And every so often we’d jump up, yell at the screen or pace around the room.


Admittedly, I’ve done this with TV shows too, so maybe I understood a little and just didn’t realize it. But for the first time, I knew I understood. Esports are an exciting event I can share with friends and strangers and have an excuse to scream at until I’m hoarse, without having the cops called on me — which is always a good time.

So, to all my sports-loving peeps out there that I’ve scoffed or rolled my eyes at,I’d like to say, “I finally get it.”


I still won’t be watching football any time soon, but I get it.


  1. I don’t understand how E-sports is considered a real sport I mean I see it advertised on real sports sites and channels. I’m no fan of sports but the sites and channels I go through I obviously run into the sports channel but I have no idea how people consider playing video games a real sport.

  2. “Noob, I’m better than you”.

    “Learn to play, noob”.

    “Pugs everywhere”.


    “xXEliteGamerZXx has disconnected”.

    I believe Esports has a bad impact on multiplay.

    I don’t support it one bit. Most multiplayer games today tend to go this very competitive direction, and as a causal player I tend to feel pushed to the side. What about us causal players? Are we supposed to feel less because we don’t have good stats or compete? Do we only get farmville? If you’re gonna make some tournament for your game and award all the hardcore and professional gamers with money, prizes and gloryfication, then you gotta make something for the causal players too…

    • I don’t mind Esports but it does bring in a certain (and hopefully disliked) “crowd” of the best upstanding and “nice” citizens ever met.

    • Well, in the world of sports, you can choose to play competitively or just for fun (even both if you want). No one says you have to play a game just for it’s competitive aspect; it is very normal to just sit down in front of a computer just to have some good game time with your buddies.

      Though of course you don’t see adults playing football as a hobby get cash prizes often.

    • Well… Two points on that. First, I don’t think I’ve ever personally known a sports fan who didn’t at least dabble with sports… Even if it was just going out and throwing a football around with their friends in the yard. Second, I think it’s really hard these days to find anyone who doesn’t play some sort of video game at least casually — barring people living in regions that just don’t have access to the technology.

      But I know plenty of people who don’t consider themselves gamers and aren’t involved in the gaming community who not only play casual/mobile/etc. games but will also sit down for a long night with a game they really like.

  3. I don’t understand sports fans, I don’t undestand e-sports fans, I don’t understand plebeians raging about politics and working in a shitty factory at the same time.


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