COMMENT: In the face of conflict, esports shows us how we can unite as one
I'm just glad that esports orgs and players are generally a lot more cool headed than government leaders, especially when it comes to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Various esport orgs in Russia and Ukraine have already spoken out against the conflict, including Team Spirit, current champions of The International.
"We are against war and we are against violence. If thousands of years of human history taught us anything, it's that peace is the only thing worth holding on to," Team Spirit's statement read.
— Team Spirit (@Team__Spirit) February 24, 2022
Mind you, this is the team that got congratulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, so speaking out against the architect of the Ukrainian invasion could be dangerous.
After all, Putin's critics have been known to mysteriously die from suspicious circumstances.
But the close ties between Russian and Ukrainian esports players only means that they see this war for what it is — an unasked for aggression on a neighbour.
And Team Spirit is not alone.
Team Empire, a renowned and established Russian org, has also spoken out against the war, stating that the org has always existed as a place to unite people from all over the world.
They must be looking upon the conflict like we all are, with horror and disgust at the loss of life.
Ukrainian esport orgs such as Natus Vincere (NaVi), which have featured Russian players in their various rosters, are "devastated" by the invasion.
The best Counter-Strike player in the world, Ukrainian Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, spoke out at the Intel Extreme Masters CS:GO at Katowice, highlighting that he and his Russian teammates are just wishing for peace.
"All of us need to show an example for the the whole world, we all need to stay human first," said s1mple in a powerful moment seen across the internet.
♥️ @s1mpleO#IEM pic.twitter.com/nQjH576Cqa
— FaZe Clan CHAMPIONS #IEM (@ESLCS) February 25, 2022
It's a stance I firmly believe esports is capable of bridging.
We game and compete with players from all over the world, in virtual battlegrounds and with virtual weapons of war.
We may get upset at each other, vulgarities may come into play, but at the end of it, we know, a game is just a game.
We play together, get better together, understand each other better.
Even though there are moments of passion where we will get upset with one another, at the end of the day, we know a game is just a game.
The world would honestly be a better place without warmongers, but in the absence of that, I look towards competitive sports and esports as shining beacons of how we can all be better persons and humans.
If you'd like to learn more about how you can help Ukraine during this crisis, here is a list of international organizations you can donate to.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com
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