This article is part of “Pro Player Perspectives” an ongoing series of articles written by pro players, coaches, and esports industry insiders.
With the current pandemic affecting the whole world, a lot of countries have undergone a lockdown period and everyone is advised to stay indoors. As a senior citizen and an esports gamer, staying indoors gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my family and to play games. Being 78 years old puts me in the high-risk group for COVID-19 but my age does not stop me from playing games.
I learned how to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) about four years ago and I recently set up my own Twitch channel where I stream every time I play CS:GO.
It’s true that I started playing later than most pro-gamers since most gamers are around the age of 15 to 25 years old. During the past few months, I have been playing CS:GO for about two hours daily. It’s like my training session to help improve my skills. I still need to train more but I am enjoying this journey.
Allow me to share some of the insights and lessons I have learned from playing esports.
Just like traditional sports, esports can be played individually, by pairs, and by teams. Teamwork is a vital factor in every team sport and it plays a major part in planning strategies. Each member of the team has their own role to play. I believe that having a better group dynamic increases the team’s chance to win the game.
If you are playing for a team, you should always try your best and work well with your teammates. Playing for a team helps develop one’s interpersonal skills as you communicate and work with other people.
Teamwork does not only mean doing your part but it also means listening to your teammates, offering support, resolving conflicts together, and working together as a unit. Trust yourself and your teammates. Your teammates are like your family because you go through challenges and you find solutions as a group. After all, you lose together and you win together.
Communication is the key to success, especially in esports. Every player has their own goals to achieve. Communicating with your own teammates lets you coordinate your move, plan strategy, have better teamwork, and avoid any misunderstandings between you and the team. One wrong move and you could lose everything then it’s game over. You have to speak clearly and talk directly with your team while you are playing the game. It might be difficult at first but you will get used to it as you continue playing games.
I think that good communication goes both ways: you talk to your teammates and you listen to others when they talk. One of the fun things you can do is having code names for your moves and tactics to win over your enemies. Good communication skills can help you not only in gaming but also in interacting with other people in your everyday life.
Respect and Sportsmanship
In every sport, there will always be winners and losers. Being a good sport and having respect for your opponents and teammates are some of the best qualities to have as a gamer. Esports competitions are serious and it gets very competitive and intense. Always do your best. If you succeed, then it is great. If you lose, you can always learn from your mistakes and try again. Accept your defeat and be a good sport. Do not take it personally because it’s only part of the game.
As a senior gamer, I remember the saying, “respect is earned, not given.” You can have some fun with a little banter but don’t be disrespectful towards your opponent and your own team by saying offensive words during the game. I know that trash talking happens during a game but always know your limitations especially with what you say and how you act towards others. If you treat other people with respect, they will treat you with respect too.
Gaming can improve your health
There are a lot of misconceptions about playing video games. It is believed to cause problems, particularly with one’s health. For me, it’s a bit different. When I started gaming, I noticed that there are some improvements in my overall health.
My reflexes are quicker, hand-eye coordination is better, typing skills got faster, and I became more mentally alert than before. I think I’m doing great for a 78-year-old senior gamer.
I believe that everything should be done in moderation. Excessive gaming will lead to health problems. Spending extra hours playing games can be very damaging to one’s health especially if you spend more than 12 hours playing every day. This is the case for younger pro-gamers. This is their lifestyle and they spend a lot of time to prepare for their competitions. Young players can play for longer hours than a senior gamer like me. It’s important to look after our health and spend time outside of gaming. Everything is okay as long as there is balance.
Don’t forget to have fun
My advice to younger gamers is this: take your time and have fun.
Having a career in esports is not the easiest and it’s an intense environment. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy playing games whether you win or lose.
My esports journey has been amazing and fun. I get to experience both the serious side and the fun side of gaming.
Preparing for the competition is very difficult and everyone should be focused. Playing on my own every day allowed me to train, be more patient, and to spend time with my family at home. This is the reason why I wanted to encourage more seniors and grandparents like me to try playing esports. They can have fun just like I did.
Life has its ups and downs. Take your time and enjoy what you do. If you want to try something new or pursue your passion, don’t hesitate and just go for it.