Is anyone else disturbed that one of the fastest-growing sports isn’t even played on a field or court and doesn’t require being in good physical shape? I’m talking about esports.

With more and more colleges and universities adding esports to their programs, it seems to me we’re endorsing a generation of couch potatoes as athletes. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an occasional video game, but it would be a far stretch of the imagination to think of myself as an athlete playing a sport.

Seriously, even the Oxford Dictionary has standards. Sport is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

I suppose gamers can break a sweat while clicking and shooting. I used to joke about golf not being a sport because players often wore slacks and polo shirts. Don’t get me started about some of the overweight, chain-smoking, alcoholic bowlers out there. And I won’t even open the can of worms with the debate whether race car drivers are athletes.

I don’t have a problem with the concept of having organized competitions for video games, but just don’t dress it up like a sport. Instead of the National Association of Collegiate eSports, how about eGames or vGames.

I recently got all worked up about esports when I read about a program starting up at my alma mater. I see the dollar signs as George Fox University likely will start a campaign to support costs associated with both intramural and intercollegiate programs on campus.

The article said they would have uniforms and a head coach. George Fox already has dedicated a 1,200-square-foot arena in the university’s Wheeler Sports Center.

I’m sure next they’ll need an athletic trainer assigned to the team — because you know someone is going to get a severe case of Nintendo thumb, gamer’s grip, tennis elbow or more accurately, “mouse” elbow and a whole host of other potential repetitive strain injuries. Soon, they’ll have masseuses, vision specialists and chiropractors on the training staff to attend to the needs of the esport athletes.

As esports has continued to legitimize sitting in front of a computer playing games, it’s already filtering down to the high school level and even younger kids. With college scholarships available, tournament money and high salary jobs, it gives little Johnny another reason to avoid going outside to ride his bike, take a hike or mow the lawn.

I have an idea — how about if they combine esports with robotics? Then, maybe household chores still could get done.

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Tammy Malgesini, who recently returned as a Hermiston Herald community writer, enjoys spending time with her husband and two German shepherds, as well as entertaining herself with random musings.

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Tammy Malgesini, who recently returned as a Hermiston Herald community writer, enjoys spending time with her husband and two German shepherds, as well as entertaining herself with random musings.

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