Excitement builds as a huge crowd waits for the tournament to begin. The bleachers are filled with friends and family wearing school colors and holding signs. When the teams enter and take their places, the crowd goes wild, stomping their feet and shouting out the names of their favorite players.
But this isn’t a varsity football or basketball game—and the players aren’t on a field or a court. They’re teams of students sitting in front of computer monitors, clicking mice and tapping away at keyboards.
At a growing number of schools around the country, video gaming has become a varsity team sport. From 2018 to 2019, the number of schools participating in the High School Esports League grew from about 200 to more than 1,200.
Video game competitions, known as esports (for electronic sports), are even bigger on the world stage. Nearly 100 million people around the globe watched the 2018 League of Legends World Championship finals. That’s about the same number of people as watched the 2018 Super Bowl.
As esports have become more popular, some people are pushing for gaming to be considered a school sport. After all, they say, games like Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and NBA 2K20 require skills and focus and can be intensely competitive.
But other people point out that gaming requires very little physical activity—one of the main aspects of traditional sports.