Gaming’s New Lifestyle: Less Pizza, More Yoga
By Andrew Keh
The squats and leg lifts were harder than they looked, and after a few sets, Alfonso Aguirre Rodriguez placed his hands on his knees and attempted to compose himself.
In November, Aguirre, a 24-year-old professional video game player from Spain, joined the five-man roster of Origen, a League of Legends team that competes in the game’s top European league. The players – all signed in late fall – were told at the time that the team might be run a bit differently from what they were accustomed to.
Now here they were, five young men who make their living sitting almost completely still in front of desktop computers, sweating through an hourlong workout in a cramped gym.
“I think I’m going to puke my oatmeal,” said Aguirre, who is known in the gaming community as Mithy. “I’m dying.”
Some years ago, traditional sports leagues were revolutionized by young analysts wielding computers. The way things had always been done, it turned out, was not always the best way to do things. Now echoes of that transformation have arrived in the growing world of professional e-sports, where gamers are being shepherded toward a new frontier, oddly, by the old, corporeal wisdom of traditional sports.
The debate about whether competitive gamers can be considered athletes may never end. In the meantime, though, gamers are increasingly acting like them.
Origen is one of two teams owned by Rfrsh Entertainment, an e-sports company based in Copenhagen. Two years ago, the organization hired Kasper Hvidt, a former captain of Denmark’s national handball team, to be its sporting director. Hvidt, 43, had no previous exposure to gaming. But that was the point.
E-sports in recent years have crept into the mainstream, attracting new fans, new sponsors and new investment. The top professionals now make six-figure salaries and earn even more with endorsements and prize money. And yet, Hvidt observed, their approach to performance remained amateurish.
Eating right, sleeping right, exercising, cleaning up for sponsors – these ideas have undergirded traditional sports for generations. In e-sports, they are regarded as almost radical.
“They don’t look at themselves as physical human beings,” said Hvidt, who won the European handball championship with Denmark in 2008.
“It’s common sense, in a way. But with them, it was not.”
2019-04-21 聯合報．D4．紐約時報賞析 莊蕙嘉
知名的電競遊戲以對戰類為主流，例如文中提到的英雄聯盟、星海爭霸（Starcraft）、爐石戰記（Hearthstone）、以及被暱稱為「吃雞」的絕地求生（Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds）等。
既然被視為運動項目，電競也引入贊助商制度，合作廠商提供選手裝備及訓練經費，換取品牌曝光。常見的贊助形式有title sponsor（冠名贊助），不但出資比率最高，且品牌名會出現在賽事名稱、選手服裝或電視畫面一角。此外還有official sponsor（官方贊助），例如Visa是爐石戰記2019世界總決賽的官方贊助商，有權使用賽事影像做行銷。
When the Poacher Is a Scientist
By Rachel Nuwer
In February, the Journal of the British Tarantula Society published a paper describing a new species of tarantula, which was discovered in a national park in Sarawak, Malaysia. While the male of the species was an unremarkable brown, the female had eye-catching, electric blue legs.
New spiders are discovered all the time, and the paper likely would have gone largely unnoticed – were it not for an article in Science magazine that appeared soon afterward.
The article claimed that the tarantula researchers had received their specimens secondhand from private collectors in Poland and Britain, who had poached them in Malaysia.
Neither Ray Gabriel nor Danniella Sherwood, the authors of the study, responded to email requests for comment. But Peter Kirk, chairman of the British Tarantula Society and editor of the society’s journal, said the collectors had shown the scientists an import permit from Poland, and they “had no reason to think due process wasn’t followed.”
“The paper absolutely will not be retracted, because it’s a completely legitimate published paper,” he said.
The incident has reignited a decades-old debate among scientists and hobbyists alike about research ethics, specimen collection and “biopiracy” – the use of natural resources without obtaining permission from local communities or sharing any benefits with them.
“The majority of responses I’ve seen are people saying, ‘Yes, we need to stop this,’ but there’s also been a fair amount of people basically trying to justify the poaching and smuggling of these tarantulas,” said Ernest Cooper, a conservation consultant in British Columbia.
“It’s this very strange, slightly colonial attitude of, ‘We know better than developing countries, so their laws don’t matter.’”
Illegal wildlife trade is dominated by headlines about criminal cartels trafficking in ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales. But scientists can also be complicit in illegal trade by poaching specimens themselves or by working with those who do.
This type of wildlife crime occurs on a much smaller scale, but experts in a variety of fields believe it is a significant issue.
“It’s a problem globally, and it happens a lot,” said Sérgio Henriques, chairman of the spider and scorpion group at the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
For Henriques and others, this sort of collection raises deep ethical concerns. “We’re the scientists, the ones who are supposed to know better and who should be leading by example,” he said. “If we can’t follow the rules, why are we demanding that others do?”
2019-04-21 聯合報．D4．紐約時報賞析 陳韋廷