essays and pithy thoughts

On obsessing about structure

in glhf

There’s a fellow in the American soccer community on twitter (different from the above quote) who relentlessly jams the mentions column of anyone who comes across his radar. He’s convinced that MLS is destroying soccer in the States, that a promotion-relegation system should be implemented immediately instead, and that anyone who argues to the contrary is part of a wide reaching conspiracy to prop up a failed system through bribes and other types of coercion, a conspiracy that has the express purpose of shutting him up amongst its goals.

While I have no such concerns of conspiracy in esports, nor am I self absorbed enough to think that I possess the standing or menace to warrant a concerted effort to shut me up. But I have wondered at times if I’m not the esports equivalent of said fellow, and that thought is a rather unpleasant one.

I will admit, it has been some time since I’ve pulled up an esports stream and watched for, say, a length of time equivalent to a soccer match. But that’s been more to do with my life as it is lately than anything. To be frank, I’ve had too much shit to do, and spending an entire weekend passively staring at a screen with a cooler of beverages, however much enjoyment that would provide, hasn’t been in the cards. At the least, I’d be trading that for a lengthy stint in the doghouse, as well as getting further behind with ongoing projects both household and on the web.

I suppose that’s all to say that simply because I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about, reading about, talking about, and writing about the business of sports as it pertains to the electronic sorts, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve no interest in what the current scene, however flawed, currently produces. If we can take anything from esports history to this point, it’s that broken leagues can still create great spectacles, if only for a time, and can look quite healthy up until the very point where the wheels detach.

Someone must think critically of these things, because if nobody does, we end up with a scene that doesn’t add up. Just about everything on this blog has been towards one problem: does the scene take in more than it spends? The answer to that question determines whether we actually have a professional scene in which careers and longevity can be built from, or one that is entirely for kicks. This is the most important question.

It may be that there’s something strange in particular with me that I find it so fascinating, but I also understand that my continued enjoyment of esports, as well as everyone’s, hangs in the balance on this question over the long term.