As an avid gamer, one game I particularly appreciate is League of Legends. Not only do I play the game, but I also follow professional players in North America and Europe. This is the sport I follow rather than basketball or football. While some may argue e-sports are not actual sports, there is more to League of Legends than meets the eye.
People who don’t play League never get the chance to understand the massive world of professional play. The world championship match of 2016 had 14.7 million concurrent viewers. The world of professional League of Legends has only grown since its founding in 2013. Now, like most “professional” sports, there are coaches, team analysts, commentators, interviews, team medics, owners, and more. Almost every role found in baseball team management can be found, in some way, on a League team. These elements, like with field sports, work together for a single purpose – to win the game. The team that wins the most games in a season wins their region and goes on to represent at the world championships to win the prize pool containing millions.
Understanding the dynamics of the game is important to understanding the collaboration that goes into each match. When a professional League game begins, five players per team sit together at desktops with their coach walking between them and the commentators talking over all the noise. The first thing that happens in any match is each team takes turns banning out three champions (characters) that are now off the playing field for that game. Then the picks begin. Teams go back and forth choosing champions until ten have been selected, five each.
The five champions are chosen for how well they work together and their ability to counter a champion the other team chose; this is known as team composition. The nearly endless analysis goes into team compositions. The two teams load onto the game map, the Rift, and the game begins. The objective of the game is to destroy the enemy team’s base with strategy and skill. The full depth of a League game, especially a professional one, is massive and nearly impossible to explain in its entirety.
http://na.leagueoflegends.com/ is the official site to go to learn everything about League of Legends.
While the mechanics of the game are always the same, the players elevate it to a professional level. My favorite players make incredible plays and I’m inspired to play until I can achieve that level of skill. Seeing what is possible in League of Legends inspires fans to try new strategies and champions to be more like their favorite pro. Watching these games is so motivational; it is the same feeling you get watching professional basketball players glide up and down the court and wanting to train to be just as good.
In addition to feeling uplifted and inspired, you also feel connected to the thousands of other fans watching the same game. Just as most people have a favorite basketball, baseball or football team, so do the fans of professional League of Legends. Fans find camaraderie and take great interest in cheering for their teams; I am one of those people. I know player stats, favorite champions, team rankings, player trades, and matchup odds. I cheer when my favorite player makes an amazing play, I get mad when my favorite team does poorly. I have stayed up until 5 am to watch the world championship games. I am every bit as much a fan of League as other people are of football or basketball.
League is my sport. It is complicated, relatively new and a little weird, but I cheer for it the same way I see people cheer for the NFL or NBA. I will be cheering for years to come, thousands of people around the globe cheering alongside me.