My big chance to be a star

August 22, 2017

Picture a sold out Etihad Stadium for an eSports tournament - it could happen in the not-too-distant future. Picture: AAP Image

Millions of dollars are already on the line in eSports tournaments across the world. Picture: AAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

I would like to officially throw my hat into the ring.

For years I thought my dreams of representing an AFL club had gone the way of my fast-twitch fibres and melted into nothingness.

I had even accepted the fact, locking those hopes and fantasies in a tiny little box and throwing away the key.

But now I’m scrambling to find a way to break the lock, because the door has been opened for me to pull on the red sash for real.

The world of eSports will be my vehicle to greatness.

I may not be good at many things, but knowing my limitations is certainly one of them.

You will not see me out-sprinting Sam Tarly, out-marking Tyrion Lannister or out-muscling Bran Stark, but I can sit in front of a computer screen and guzzle Mountain Dew with the best of them.

Once solely the domain of independent organisations and amateurs, sporting teams are now jumping on board en masse with either their own label or via acquisitions of gaming identities and teams.

The Adelaide Crows recently purchased professional gaming team Legacy eSports, while the AFL itself is looking to move into the industry.

Further afield, clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Philadelphia 76ers and Manchester City have all moved into the new arena, creating a fresh buzz around the concept.

The International eSports Federation is even pushing for an Olympics gig, but that may be a step too far.

Awarding gold medals to gamers while athletes who have worked their bodies to the bone for years look on in disgust would not be the best approach.

Just imagine it though, a complete 18-team AFL Evolution competition run on a Friday and Saturday night throughout the season with a full complement of representatives controlling one player each.

Aside from the astronomic revenue opportunities (I would happily pay good money to ‘‘play’’ for Essendon) and relatively low overheads after the initial equipment start-up costs, the excitement of being able to be classed as a professional athlete as an otherwise ordinary Australian would be palpable.

Even the cross-promotion of each individual sport would be boosted massively.

Manchester United facing Hawthorn in an NBA Finals series, or the New England Patriots playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the FA Cup final with millions of fans watching on would be simply amazing to be involved in.

There are no restrictions in the online sphere either.

You could run tournament after tournament, day after day, week after week for the entire year.

Cramming as many games into the schedule as possible would be easy as well, with no player rundown like on the actual sporting field.

Rosters could be endless too, with millions more people capable of competing well on the gaming international scene than in the professional sporting arena.

Basically, it’s a whole new world.

Everyone already wants the next big thing instantly, and eSports could fill the gaps between weekends where the hole football leaves is gaping.

Now, while non-sport online gaming is not my area of expertise I can certainly put my hand up for a FIFA gig.

Playing with my beloved Swindon Town, rarely do I concede a goal in a 5-3-2 formation, while in attack I take an approach heavily weighted towards the adage that ‘‘if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the raffle’’, meaning plenty of long-range speculators.

You might not think it is a strategy that would win me a lot of games, but if you don’t concede you don’t lose, and anything can happen from the penalty spot.

So while I brush up on my skills I encourage you to target a game you can play on an international level.

Because suddenly we’ve all been invited to the draft combine — and I’ll be damned if I’m missing out on being picked again.

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