I thought that we might be crazy. My husband and I bought the LanNetwork 6 years ago. It was also known as the “gaming house” where professional Halo players trained. Well, little before I knew it 15 professional Halo players were heading to my house and I was terrified. My image of a gamer back then was not pretty. I pictured a kid that hadn’t showered in a month living on a couch in the basement playing games 24/7.

Wow, was I wrong and now proud to admit it!

The players arrived from around the country so that they could train in my house for 5 days. I elicited the help of my parents to help feed them. Soon after they arrived they began practicing. We had 16 Xboxes set up in a spare room for them to practice. I watched 2 teams compete against each other guided by their coaches behind them. One pro asked me what I saw and I replied, “They are shooting each other.” He responded that they were actually playing capture the flag. So instantly, my mom hat came off and my teacher hat went on. I immediately observed the teamwork that I was witnessing, the synchronization, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, strategizing and communication. I have a master’s degree in education and I was experiencing all I have ever wanted for my students or athletes. I began to see the powerful benefits of eSports.

Here were dedicated athletes training to compete in an upcoming tournament where they had the potential to make 6 figures. I watched how in between matches they regrouped and came up with a better plan for success. They were no different than a basketball team with their coach guiding them all the way. As soon as their screen time was over, they were outside shooting baskets and doing yoga. A handful of them asked to go lift weights in the gym in our neighborhood. They explained that they must train in the Halo game, but it is also important to work physically to increase their stamina, hand-eye coordination and reflexes. I even had them asking me for organic this and that.

I realized how closed minded I was as a mom and even educator. I had a stereotype in my head and I hadn’t looked to change it! I didn’t appreciate that eSports are real sports. I began to see my sons’ and husband’s passion for gaming not as a negative. It rather is something that I wanted to foster in my kids, students, boys and girls.

I learned that video games are here to stay and they need to be embraced. These well-rounded pros changed my view of the industry for the better. Fast forward to today. eSports is a multi-billion-dollar industry. In 6 short years, it has grown exponentially to overtake the movie industry. It is here and it is only going to get bigger and better. So, I encourage you to take off your mom hat and put on your teacher hat. Encourage your kids to play competitive eSports games.

They will be with their friends loving what they are doing. At Game On we will help them become the well-rounded gamer.