(This article is contributed by Harcee R. Sarmiento, a teacher/freelance writer and a gamer from Concepcion, Tarlac)
The rise of the mobile gaming among the youth has paved way to the inclusion of E-Sports (Electronic Sports) to the national arenas around the country and in the Asian region, even forcing up the Philippines to include Mobile Legends Bang Bang to the South East Asian Games 2019 as one of the medal games. These feats also raised one important issue worth to consider: should we now include e-sports, especially mobile gaming, to the schools’ sporting events?
No doubt that after Filipinos destroyed World Champion Indonesia in the Mobile Legends Bang Bang in the SEA Games, young and young at hearts Pinoys inspired by what they have seen to the professional players, even bringing up the popularity of the game into more higher degree. Livestreams flooded social media, and prove that it can be a lucrative means among gamers through monetizing their channels.
So back to the question are these factors enough for the Department of Education to include Mobile Legends into the Athletic Meets Calendar? My answer is resounding YES.
1. Sports is not just about moving and running, it includes the brain
I know many purists who I encountered do not agree. They keep on traditionally pinning “non-moving” games as non-sports. This is sadly what happened to chess, since only fingers move the pieces. Chess is a victim of these individuals, making it still in the no-list in the Olympics.
Why, isn’t thinking not a sport? Whatever sport it is, strategy is a must. MOBA is a team strategy, and it requires a lot of planning and accurate movement. What sport doesn’t include strategy? Isn’t the brain part of the moving body?
2. E-sports is already a culture by this generation
As a culture, we cannot separate or suppress it E-sports and gaming to these kids today. Just like music, sports evolve in no time and one of the by-products of that is this. Electronic gaming cannot be tamed by any means possible, since it is already part of the internet-reliant community. Whether we like it or not, we need to accept the fact that the kids has another “arena” nowadays, and the machismo tagline we put to playing basketball and boxing as ‘man’s game’ has burn into ashes.
3. Making it sport will make it possible to regulate it, therefore, a chance by the government to earn from it
It has been a very lucrative industry for company as they sponsor teams around the gaming community. In the Philippines, giant tech-companies like SMART and PLDT are the leading team owners that compete for the nationals and in the international scene like the MPL.
Through this, rising gamers from the grassroots are given chances to become famous and be lifted from non-progressive life. Opportunities of enjoying and having a job at the same time created names for famous professional gamers and streamers such as Doofens, Ako Si Dogie, Hex, CHOOX TV and others.
Now, the point of making it official medal sports, government can now include it to the school, and therefore regulate it at the same time. Just like an ordinary sports, it can be now guided with coaches and analysts, suffice to eliminate the stigma of the 80’s and 90’s that computer gaming is evil.
4. Potential Olympic Gold deliverer
If there is anything that we Filipino has chance to get that elusive gold medal in the Olympic, Mobile Legends and other E-sports are the answer. This is the sporting event that we have fair opportunity: No need for height, speed or body strength.
We must learn how to adapt in the very changing pace of the society. As the adage said, change is the only permanent in the world, we should be welcoming it since there’s no sense of stopping it.