Dotaland note: 2009 and esports are mentioned in the mainstream again, as debate flares up once more on the importance of esports and its influence on students.
The incident: The Chinese Ministry of Education recently held a discussion about strengthening physical and sporting environments at universities around the country, inviting leadership from 16 different large universities to participate.
Zhejiang University’s principal, Yang Wei said: “Nowadays there are fewer and fewer people who achieve one hour of daily exercise. Gaming, and online activities instead take up the vast majority of this time. Even though our school has not produced Olympics champions like Sun Yang, we still do have a hero in the form of an esports world champion that is arguably more influential to more of our students than anyone else (this hero being none other than 2009, who graduated from Zhejiang University).”
This kicked off a myriad of discussions, and the Shenzhen Evening Post published an editorial looking at the issue, entitled “Esports is not the enemy of physical sport”.
Esports is not the enemy of physical sport
Shenzhen Evening Post reporter Fang Zhou — Zhejiang University’s principal, with one declaration of “Sun Yang is less influential than esports champions”, once again revealed the weaknesses of our campus sports programs across the country. Many schools have cancelled track programs, and there have even been incidents involving casualties recently.
This time, “the vicious esports industry” has been singled out by many people as the primary source of the demise of sporting and physical excellence on campuses, and its logic goes as such: If we were to smash all the students’ computers, they would naturally then go outside onto sports fields instead.
2009, as the example at hand here, even seemingly sank into the role of ‘villain’ for many people here, as he represented everything that was ‘wrong’. However, consider this: the reason why 2009 is more beloved at Zhejiang University is not because of this, but more because he is like everyone else — he tested into the university like everyone else, we could have met him in the cafeterias, while people like Sun Yang we can only see on TV. Things like being able to claim a national sports star for one’s university are things that typically only administrators care about.
In college, playing computer games is indeed more popular than traditional sports. When I was in college, whenever anyone wanted to hook up and play some Counterstrike, there was always massive interest, while our football (soccer) tournaments meant going into individual dorms to drag people out of bed to play. But you cannot simply take this to mean, a love of Counterstrike is linked to no love for football. Another root cause to be considered here is the fact that tough and lengthy schooling and preparations before college have squeezed the sporting genes and interest out of many kids, so by the time they’ve made it to college, they’re all wearing glasses and physically weak, and so can only find fulfillment in online worlds, playing hero.
English film “The Black Mirror” displayed some of the drawbacks of virtual worlds, and speaking of the drawbacks, they certainly aren’t only limited to affecting campus sports. So students spending so much time gaming cannot possibly be said to have a cause-and-effect relationship with the lack of sports on campuses, it can only be said to be a manifestation of the lack of sports. If you don’t believe me, try this experiment: turn off the internet in the dorms, and see how many people actually go out onto the sports fields instead.
Strictly speaking, esports is also categorized in the realm of sporting in general, and it’s a relatively smaller item in this realm. Just as 2009 said before, don’t approach esports with biases and just assume. Esports can also exercise participants’ decision making, analytic thinking, mentality, and teamwork. 2009 and esports in general are not the monsters that some people think they are. Some school principals only know to blame the internet and gaming; conversely, they should think more seriously about how they can improve things on their own, and reflect on the actual reasons their schools lack sporting.