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Pro or ‘noob’, esports has a place for all comers

You don’t have to know the ins and outs of gaming. One way or another, we all have some roots in esports

By: May Chen

On paper, few would associate me with esports. I myself couldn’t have predicted a path that leads me to this exciting frontier.

After all, I’ve spent my career so far in newsrooms, more familiar with stadiums and sports reporting, than with the world of competitive gaming.

But strip away preconceived ideas or any stereotypes about what esports is or should be, and I quickly saw my own links to esports too.

There are the countless school day afternoons I spent at my best friend’s house as a teenager, playing a game called Gunbound. It’s a multiplayer turn-based artillery game developed by Softnyx in the early 2000s.

We weren’t particularly good at it, and were often called “chicks” by other gamers we met online. No, it wasn’t a sexist or derogatory remark — just a reference to the fact that according to the game’s various proficiency levels, we were no more than the beginner chicks that had just hatched from eggs.

I remember my mobile of choice was the Boomer, which attacks other mobiles using a boomerang. I remember the “Hussy Hair” picked out for my avatar because of how it resembled me in real life, purchased with gold coins earned painstakingly from the few battles I managed to win. I remember, also, marvelling at my best friend’s brother who played the game with far more precision and success.

He was most definitely not a chick.

Beyond that, I had encounters with the likes of Street Fighter, Fifa, and Daytona USA. Super Mario Brothers is a familiar go-to, as it also is for so many around the world.

You don’t have to know the ins and outs of gaming to be a part of the esports world, just as you don’t need an impressive golf handicap to watch the sport.

One way or another, we all have some roots in esports whether we immediately recognise it or not.

What drew me to sports has always been more than just the results we see on the field.

It’s what we see beyond the superhuman athletic abilities of sportspeople. It’s the grit, the humanity, and the vulnerability of unbridled joy and crippling disappointment.

It’s what shows our commonality as human beings, and it’s my favourite thing about sports.

I believe esports is no different as something that is no respecter of the colour of our skin, what we place our beliefs in, and where we call home.

I believe esports is no different from “traditional” sports as an area where success comes only after the investment of ultimate dedication. I believe esports is no different as a place where we’ll find incredible tales that uplift and unite.

Those stories are what we at the Global Esports Federation hope to help amplify, whether it’s about players, publishers, or any other part of this ever-growing, ever-changing space.

The world of esports has never been bound by restrictions, and it’s our hope at the GEF to help shed light on how inclusive and accessible this space is. We are linked in more ways than we instinctively know.

All are welcome, even a “chick” with hussy hair like me.

May recently joined the Global Esports Federation as its Head of Community Communication and Social Media.


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