This article is part of “Pro Player Perspectives” an ongoing series of articles written by pro players, coaches, and esports industry insiders.

At 78-years-old, Abbe “DiehardBirdie” Borg, is the world’s oldest esports champion, having won the Seniors CS:GO tournament at DreamHack Summer 2019.

Reports state that the average lifespan of a human being is 79 years. There are studies that say women tend to outlive men. On average, there are 250 babies born in this world every minute. As soon as the baby cries to announce his presence, he is automatically included in a generation — from Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, to Gen Z etc.

It is easier to classify a person based on their age. But doing so seems to widen the gap between generations. It’s like putting up a wall between the young, the middle-aged, and the elderly. Their differences can be seen and there will be misunderstandings along the way. The elders are saying no while the young ones are screaming yes which makes communicating with one another a challenge.

As we face a global pandemic, what the world needs now is connection. A bridge to connect generations so we can help one another in order to survive this crisis. As a senior citizen turned professional gamer, I have seen the social, mental, and physical benefits of esports. Not only do I get to virtually socialize with the young ones but I also get to form a bond with them. Esports can be THE connection between generations, especially during these challenging times.

Counter-Strike and other similar video games energize not only the young but also the older generation in playing team-based and strategic games

A platform for social survival

The pandemic has hit us hard. People from all over the world are struggling to survive and are quickly adjusting to the “new normal” life. At this time of physical distance, the need for social connection deepens. The online world is now our best friend. The Internet is now our best chance to form relationships and maybe get to see the silver lining of our current situation. 

As a veteran gamer, esports became my lifesaver during the lockdown. It became my daily mental workout and gave me the opportunity to connect with others around the globe. As I have said before, age is just a number and anyone can learn how to play video games. Whenever gamers play, we are playing not only to win our respective missions but also to win the trust of our teammates.

With my granddaughter Vicky, at the Plaza Hotel in New York before the COVID-19 lockdown.

Esports as a shared experience

There was a time when the kids were being scolded by their parents because of playing video games for hours. Parents failed to understand their children and caused their relationship to suffer. Esports can serve as a way for them to reconnect and be their common interest. I strongly advise parents and other adults to throw away their preconceived notions about gaming and give esports a chance. Most of the young ones play for fun but for some of them, it is also a form of expression. They now have a voice, virtually speaking, in this noisy and oftentimes very vocal world. 

When families play online games together, it can strengthen family ties where parents can learn from their kids. It is usually the children or even the grandchildren who teach their parents and grandparents how to play the games. Everyone works together to achieve a shared goal despite their differences.

My granddaughter Vicky taught me the basics of Roblox and other games that she enjoys

Esports as a tool for social change

Ageism is seen not only in esports but also in other industries. Unlike the past decades, age stereotyping is slowly becoming a taboo. The gaming community is now more welcoming of older gamers and more inclusive when it comes to gender as well. The increase of older and women gamers in esports helps lessen gaming stereotypes.

Playing CS:GO has been empowering for me. Playing with different generations has taught me to be more compassionate and empathetic. I became more considerate of others without compromising my values and beliefs.

Three generations at the “DSCVR Esports” show filmed on the Nasdaq studio in New York where intergenerational gaming was discussed

These are tough times. This global pandemic may last for another year or maybe another decade. Intergenerational gaming can be the “new normal” in esports. Millennial gamers don’t need to be separated from baby boomers and generation x gamers. We can stop segregating gamers based on their age or gender and start reflecting on the power of gaming and the positive impact of esports in our society today. 

Reach out to Abbe “DieHardBirdie” Borg at Follow him on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.