I was listening to Barstool Breakfast the day after we announced the creation of the brand new Barstool eSports team called the Hooliganz. [As an aside, how has no one thought of Barstool Hooliganz = Stooliganz?] Immediately, Glenny Balls tweeted out that with this announcement, "he became a professional athlete."
Obviously, as you might imagine, Willie (a former professional athlete and Super Bowl winner) took issue with this assertion. His take wasn't surprising as most conventional athletes do NOT want their physical athletic gifts to be compared to someone chilling on the couch playing video games.
He went on and had a spirited conversation with Balls and let's just say things got a little spicy.
I don't know if I've ever heard a Super Bowl champion refer to Bowlers as athletes but, I guess its all relative. Compared to esports, you could make the argument that at least their is a level of physicality to it? And here we are.
But that got me to thinking, is there any validity to what Glenny has to say? Does he, a new member of the Barstool Hooliganz eSports team, share any of the same traits as a pro athlete? Sounds silly, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
A new study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests they might.
Esports researcher Dylan Poulus said the study looked at 316 esports athletes and sought to identify some of the mental skills required for optimal performance among gamers, including high levels of mental toughness, emotional control, and life control.
"Similar to traditional sports athletes, esports athletes with higher mental toughness employed more problem-focused coping strategies which aided in their success. By accepting the elements of their game that are beyond their control could lead to better performance." Poulus said.
[Big eye emoji]
If you've ever tuned into any Pardon My Take Twitch streams and watched Coach Duggs implode in crunch time, you'll know that there is some truth to this study. We see that there is an element of mental toughness required to be elite at gaming. If your decision making starts to falter in the 4th quarter when the pressure is on, what will ensue, are nothing but Ls and a flood of Fs in the Chat.
Why do you think that Big Cat employed Muj to be his top coordinator (over Billy Football, Brandon Walker and Rone)? Muj is a former D1 football player and top gamer who understands that remaining cool under pressure is paramount to gaming success. Muj's job is to help Big Cat NOT to panic and throw deep balls to the X receiver on 1st down. His job is to help Duggs manage the clock, run the damn ball, and give him a sense of stability that keeps him from feeling the heat of 130k people watching and commenting "Fraud Cat".
So as much as Willie might not want to admit it, there's more in common between a Super Bowl winner and an eSports star, at least when it comes to mental toughness. I'm not saying that winning the Madden world championships by using a punter under QB is the same as winning a Super Bowl for the Steelers, but if you want to tell that to Willie? LOL I'm not going to stop you.
And here's to hoping Glenny Balls and the Hooliganz win a COD Warzone championship so that Willie won't feel so lonely as the only pro athlete with a championship ring at Barstool