Esports has continued to rise in popularity, so it’s no surprise that they have captivated the hearts and minds of young people. The same way kids historically have looked up to professional athletes, now they aspire to be like their favorite League of Legends or Call of Duty players. It’s even become a varsity sport in some high schools.
So how can parents support their children who want to make a mark in esports?
“You would support them in esports like you would support them in any other competitive activity,” says Kyle Trantham, the manager of content/music and lifestyle relations for Esports Arena. He tells Parentology, “If your child liked baseball, you would look into the local community for tournaments or leagues, you would try to get them the equipment they need to be successful, and you would do your best to understand the game they are playing. When I was younger, I wanted to play baseball, so my dad signed me up for little league, bought me a bat and glove, played catch with me, and told me how he thought I could improve.”
It may seem reductive, but the first thing that parents can do to support their budding esports athletes is to shift their personal paradigm of “sports.” By treating esports like any other sport, parents demonstrate that they recognize the legitimacy of their kids’ interests. Validating their passion(s) is the first step to fostering their success.
Another important thing parents can do to set their children up for success is equipping them with the necessary gear. Esport equipment can vary slightly depending on the game. From specific monitors to custom peripherals, esport athletes use equipment with particular specifications. While this may be a barrier to entry for some, there are some entry-level options.
Trantham also notes the importance of community involvement. Parents can confirm that youth sports leagues are time-consuming and potentially expensive. The same can be said for esports. After all the equipment, practice, and coaching, athletes need locations to compete, tournaments, opponents, and teammates (depending on the sport). Practically speaking, that could mean research, drive time, entrance fees, and potentially even plane fare or hotels/Airbnb.
It’s an investment, but it also means parents can easily get involved.
“There are so many different opportunities to explore in the esports space — tournament organization, design of games, art/graphics, event production, [and] team management,” Luke Brue, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Esports Arena tells Parentology. “Just because it’s gaming, doesn’t mean we don’t need everyday skills and people with all kinds of talents to make the industry run smoothly.”
Brue, known affectionately within the community as ShamonaHe, has experience in this area. His parents were very supportive of his passion for esports early on. This meant that Brue had opportunity to play Hearthstone, Blizzard Entertainment’s collectible card game, competitively. Brue quickly recognized that there are more things to do within the esports world than compete, and he made that jump himself. Transitioning from competitor to facilitator, Brue now strives to provide continually improving, relevant competitions for the ever-evolving esports landscape.
Just like with professional sports, there is the potential for a career in esports. Parents can further support their child in the journey towards a career in esports by remaining aware of the various opportunities. This is especially salient considering the early retirement age for certain Esport titles.
While parents can strive to communicate belief in the possibility of dreams coming true, they can also teach their kids about future planning with foresight in this industry. To the parents who are raising the next generation of esports athletes, there are practical, actionable steps to take in order to empower their kids. Treat esports as a legitimate sport, acquire the gear and equipment they need, plan for travel to the competitions and training/networking opportunities, and explore the other opportunities within the industry. This will only serve to develop your child as a competitor and further develop a healthy community.
Esports Support – Sources
Kyle Trantham and Luke Brue — Esports Arena