Sports, e-sports & The World’s Crazy Digital Transformation

Why e-sports should be considered bona fide sports.

By Alywin Chew        2 May 2022

A friend recently asked me: “Do you think e-sport is a sport?”

As an avid gamer and sports enthusiast, it was a difficult question to answer.

Compared to traditional sports that are popular with Singaporeans, like badminton, football and, of course, queuing up for bargains, e-sport does admittedly come across as a rather frivolous activity.

After all, playing a computer game is a relatively sedentary activity that doesn’t involve as much athleticism as the national pastime of queuing.

Did you see the way people were chionging to be first in line at the Swatch x Omega sale? I’m surprised we haven’t been able to produce an Olympic sprinter.

But to answer the question above, we must first look at what the definition of a sport is.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

In other words, there are two prerequisites for something to become a sport. First, it must involve physical exertion and skill (note that the dictionary did not stipulate how much physical exertion must be involved).

Second, it must be viewed by others as a form of entertainment.

As such, e-sport does qualify as a sport. First, it is a form of entertainment – the massive crowds at e-sports tournaments prove just that. Second, it does involve physical exertion, albeit limited to the wrist and fingers.

I know, I know, there are many things in life that only require wrist and finger action, and they aren’t considered sports.

Oei, get your mind out of the gutter. I was thinking about guitar playing.

If you think about it, the dreaded rifle cleaning activity we had to endure during National Service should also be considered a sport because it’s physically taxing, especially when you’re doing it after spending the entire day out in the field.

It’s also entertaining – to the instructors who love watching trainees suffer.

The biggest takeaway I got from pondering about this question is that we now live in a world where technology is radically redefining the traditional.

Case in point? The new Digital Work-Learn Scheme launched by the Ministry of Defence and Nanyang Technological University. If you haven’t already heard, this scheme allows NSFs to serve as Digital Specialists under the SAF’s new Digital and Intelligence Service.

In this role, they will be responsible for designing software used to support military operations.

That’s right, we will soon have actual, legit keyboard warriors.

And where do keyboard warriors get their equipment?

The SAF eMart, of course.

Come to think of it, don’t you think it’s odd that the eMart is a brick-and-mortar store that we can physically enter? I mean, an e-mart should technically exist exclusively in the virtual world, no? Or have we all been living in the metaverse without realising it?

Speaking of eMart, have you managed to get your hands on the new SAF running shoes that were made available earlier this year? Most of the people I’ve asked don’t seem too interested as they claim the shoes “don’t look nice”.

I think the shoes look fine. The problem here is simply a branding issue.

Mark my words, one surefire way to get people chionging for it is this: just call them SAF x Asics and SAF x New Balance limited edition drops.

LOL Mondays is an ongoing series of slice-of-life stories from freelance writer and NSman Alywin Chew. Look out for the humorous tales which will be posted every first Monday of the month, to help you drive away your Monday blues!

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