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School and Esports: #Twinning!

Students and Esports Athletes Have a Lot in Common When it Comes to Well-being Challenges

A few years ago, I started an intergenerational Esports program as a way to connect youth and older adults. In the process, I met a lot of esports athletes.

We had a lot of conversations about their stressors, their lifestyles, and their fears. And I realized something: “Holy sh*t, the esports industry has a lot in common with the legal profession.”

Mike “MikeYeung” Yeung is a perfect example. Mike Yeung has been playing League of Legends (LoL stands for League of Legends here, not laugh out loud) since season one, reaching challenger during season three while only being 13 years old. Mike absolutely electrified the League of Legends Championship Series Arena week after week. Immense crowds would scream his name: the chants were positively deafening.

But the noise subsided after Mike suffered a downslide. The self-imposed pressure built and found no release. Frustration and burnout eventually drove him from the top tier of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), at least for a while.

Replace “League of Legends” with “law school” and you will see exactly how much law students and lawyers have in common with the Esports industry.

1. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise in both industries. Unless law students and esports athletes decide to unionize, we will have to come up with our own solutions to poor nutrition and lack of exercise. The amount of time law students and esports athletes commit to practice or studying may not give them much room for other matters – even much-needed physical exercise.

One esports athlete recently said the following :“I noticed that I started to sacrifice my personal health to be online a lot,” he said. “A lot of people get into those ruts thinking, ‘I’m just going to play. … I’m not going to eat. I’ve got a bag of chips right here.’”

Balancing healthy lifestyle choices like nutrition and exercise can be hard enough for the average person. For competitive gamers and law students, who spend hours playing or studying, it’s even harder.

Is a home-cooked meal worth your time when you could be grinding away at the law library or studying up on the latest mechanical outplay? You may think the answer is “no” when you have a pile of work in front of you, but think again. Taking care of your body helps your mind perform better.

Common Sense Take Away Tips: Take a few extra minutes to eat well and get a bit of exercise. The top end teams for League of Legends used to have an in-house cook or assistant who would prepare food for them. To be clear, you will likely be b*tchslapped if you command that your professor send you a healthy, home cooked meal. So do it yourself. At least once in a while.

2. Mental fatigue and early burnout. You know what else law students and professional gamers have in common? Burnout. A lot of esport athletes are recruited at a young age and enter a world they are not accustomed to. They often give up time for family and friends to practice at least 12-16 hours a day. This intense lifestyle that causes most of these esport athletes to fatigue and burnout.

This sounds a lot like law school. When someone is at their computer for 14 hours a day, there’s a good chance that they may fall out of love with their said profession, and the goal is to get through it and like it, not loathe it.

Common Sense Take Away Tips: Wellness is the key to reducing burnout. When your body is done, go to sleep. Cutting sleep only gives the illusion of increased productivity. If you don’t want to listen to me, listen to Jeff Bezos. Be like Bezos and get to bed.

Both law and esports are full of driven people who want to accomplish major things, and that’s admirable. But remember: you will never get to the top if you keep dropping your wellbeing to the bottom.

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