How playing video games competitively has helped me in life

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

Today’s society sees video games differently than they did 20 years ago. Back in the day, video games were seen as a kid’s way of distracting him or herself, which took away valuable time they could’ve used focusing on something that they could make a living with once they had grown up, like sports or their schooling.

That old-fashioned, close-minded way of looking at video games still lingers in some minds today despite the massive financial success of a plethora of video games. Examples include big-timers like League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as well as relatively smaller games like Rivals of Aether, Lethal League and Super Smash Brothers.

People spend their time how they want to nowadays. As that bold attitude is being normalized, these video games have amassed thousands of players worldwide. Companies took advantage of this. When there’s a huge audience, there’s money to be made. And boy oh boy, is money there.

But for the players themselves, it’s more than just a paycheck waiting to be won. It’s about going through the journey of becoming the best of the best or even just the best of your friend group.

Competition drives people. It makes them want to better themselves in what they do and helps them to grow.

That’s exactly the reason why I love playing video games competitively so much.

It first started with Super Smash Brothers after I saw people playing the game down in the Unity Lounge in the LaPenta Student Union building. I witnessed how good some people are and, due to a deep connection to the series from when I was a child, I wanted to try and get that good too.

I was familiar with the game, which helped. Being good in a game series I have been a part of since a child meant something to me. And so my small journey began.

I began playing not only to have fun, but to understand what I was doing wrong so I could correct my mistakes and do better next time. Diligence, hard work, dedication and a good bit of stubbornness were all tools I used to become better and better.

Funny enough, those are the same tools you use to become a successful individual. I’ve used them on a smaller scale, just to get better at this platform-fighter video game. I’ve also used them to get better at a game where you control a car to hit a ball: Rocket League.

With those tools, I’ve become relatively well-versed in both of those games. I’ve played in local tournaments in Super Smash Brothers, pitting my own against some of the best players in the northeast region of the United States. I’ve reached the rank of Champion 2 in Rocket League, a rank that only the top 3.5% of players have, in a game that averages over 40,000 players per day.

I’m convinced that playing video games competitively is nothing but a blessing. It helps you grow as an individual and become the successful person you want to be. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.