To the Editor:

                The Vermilion School Board has shown to be very attentive to what the community wants and needs. When I attend, the school board meetings, as I often do, I find that they listen to my concerns and respond to my e-mails. I’m inviting parents to come out to the school board meetings to provide input and discourse about the E-sports that have been proposed in our high school and are being reviewed by the board.

                My concern about e-sports is that they are not a sport at all. The very definition of e-sports is that they are multi-player video games played competitively for spectators and typically by professional gamers. Does this sound like your local high school or the gaming cafe down the street? When we think of sports our minds turn toward the field or court where athletes, through exercise, exertion of body and mind work as a team to gain a skill and take it to a competitive level. We have enjoyed seeing our athletes shine on the field and court! Personal satisfaction is earned by physical skill, gained and vigorously attained. Teamwork is gained also, and camaraderie is valued. Personal relationships matter.

                E-sports deprive all of these to our students. Community participation is absent. Families and fans cannot engage in conversation and show their school spirit, cheering on the players and supporting the school by their attendance.

                The spirit of teamwork is lost when screen time, E-sports, is the engaging element. E-sports does not invite discourse. It is a fake type of relation -building. The screen time of E-sports robs the community of the excitement of watching student athletes in action.

                E-sports come up short in so many areas where students are concerned. We should all be concerned with the amount of time our students have spent in front of a screen. Inactivity and sedentary lifestyles are hurting our students and contributing to obesity. Why would we think E-sports are a healthy addition in our schools?

                Vermilion Local Schools represent education first. E-sports seem out of place for a learning institution such as ours in Vermilion where students are reaching for their potential academically. It seems like such a dumbing down of our standards. What if students, introduced to this type of gaming in school, fall into addiction to gaming later in life? What if encounters they make through this on-line media involve them with harmful people? Some would argue that students might feel left out because they could not participate or make the cut on the team at their school. But online sports clubs are available for any of us at any time, and Intramural sports offer a positive way for these athletes to excel.

E-sports are costly to the district because they require adding hardware and software to the system. It would also require paying a coach a salary for E-sports. I am not in favor of adding this type of program if it adds to more burden to the Vermilion taxpayers.

Robin Aston