Geeking Out: Where gamers and athletes are one in the same

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published:

Every child gamer of '90s has some kind of memory of their parents busting into the basement on a warm summer afternoon, ushering them to go out and make something of themselves rather than squander time in front of the idiot box. Myself, I'd argue at a young age that videogame mechanics were teaching me creative problem solving and enhancing my hand-eye coordination (admittedly, I also read gamer magazines that helped guide my arguments).

I also had a part-time job at 14, was active in Boy Scouts and played sports from first-grade through high school, so my folks cut me some slack. However, depending on their mood that day, your parents might still give you some form of that "You'll never amount to anything in front of that damn screen" rebuttal. Well, now, earning cred as a videogame expert might actually get you into college -- at least in one part of the world.

Chung-Ang University in South Korea -- reportedly one of the top 10 institutions of higher learning in the country -- now likens competitive gamers to traditional athletes, according to a report issued last week.An original story can be found here and loosely translated via the Google Chrome browser.

Beginning next year, the university will be accepting eSports applications for students who could eventually enroll in its Department of Sport Science traditionally associated with collegiate sports like soccer, basketball, baseball and so on. So, basically, even if you might not have an athletic muscle in your body, the right gaming skills could help land you in one of South Korea's best colleges!

As others across the Internet have pointed out, though, this may seem a little strange to us. Eastern countries including Japan and South Korea have more robust gaming-centric communities that widely celebrate the art form publicly; many even televise live videogame tournaments. Whether this trend will catch on around the globe is hard to say. But don't put down those sticks just yet. If you never excelled on real fields or courts, racking up that gamer score might just help land you a college scholarship one of these days without risking that sports injury your more athletic pals will be nursing the rest of their lives.

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