#1

The atmosphere at the Spodek is electric

in Fantômas 10.05.2019 08:07
von Dogcat250 • 1.150 Beiträge

Here in the Spodek arena in Poland, tens of thousands of people are watching two teams of five men compete in the final of a new kind of sport. Around the world millions upon millions of people are watching just as keenly at home. The atmosphere at the Spodek is electric – palpable, in fact. The crowd is chanting “TSM” to support Team SoloMid so loudly that the arena sounds like booming thunder. The stakes are high, the top prize consists of $108,414 and the accolade of being a world champions.But there are no boots, no balls, no bats. All of the people competing are sitting in front of state-of-the-art computers. Around the arena giant screens display the digital action taking place. This is eSports – professional, competitive, computer gaming – a digital sport for a digital age. There has been much debate as to the legitimacy of calling eSports a sport, but regardless of opinion the spectacle taking place is as vital and exciting as any other major, large-scale sporting event. Michal Blicharz, the organiser behind Intel Extreme Masters Championship told Sky Sports: “Is eSports a sport? Well, I have a black belt in judo, I was a referee for 12 years. I competed, I coached and to me eSports is sport. “People typically think that if you don’t get punched in the face or if you don’t sweat then that’s not really a sport. But you can go out and throw a ball against a wall for an hour, is that sport? No! You need some structure, you need some rules to it, and you require a certain eco-system around it. “All of it is here with eSports. If the International Olympic Committee recognises chess as a sport, you cant convince me that a game like Starcraft is not a sport.“I don’t see anybody getting punched in the face or sweating with pigeon racing and that was an Olympic sport. But either way, it doesn’t change the nature of the beast.” You need some structure, you need some rules to it, and you require a certain eco-system around it. All of it is here with eSports. Michal Blicharz CommitmentSo how do you prepare to compete in an eSports tournament? All the competitors in Poland agree that simply being a gamer isn’t enough, and if you were to observe them close up, you’d understand the truth behind this. At first you’d be forgiven in thinking that their hands hardly move across mouse and keyboard but, upon closer inspection, you suddenly notice that the speed of their movements is so rapid that it hardly registers to human eyes. Twitch motions, twitch gaming. To develop these skills requires relentless training and dedication. During a respite before facing Chinese favourites Team WE in the League of Legend finals, Team SoloMid shed some light as to the level of commitment required.Jason ‘WildTurtle’ Tran said: “We practice every day for 10 to 12 hours. We wake up, eat and start practising.”Marcus “Dyrus” Hill insisted eSports doesn’t advocate an unhealthy lifestyle: “I like to stay healthy, Lucas ‘Santorin’ Larsen and I hit the gym every other day.”SoloMid’s regime is understandable when you consider that some eSports competitors can make an estimated $20,000 to $40,000 a month simply by streaming their gameplay online. That figure excludes sponsorship revenue and tournament winnings. But competing in eSports isn’t simply about money, fame and accolade. The games that drive eSports are the backbone of this sociable community and the best way to understand them is simply to play them. Right now at the Spodek arena, Team SoloMid are two games up against Team WE. Deep into their third and potentially final game, SoloMid are dominating. The crowd is frantic, their roar deafening. 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