The stigma’s around gaming has come a long way since the early 90s or even the 00s. While there may still be some blinded by the ignorance of thinking gamers live in their parents’ basement, eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew, the truth couldn’t be further from the truth. The Quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Kurt Benkert, is pushing back against any remaining stigma that some people may have about his favorite pastime (besides Football).
It all started when a question was asked at the Packers training camp about his background with esports. Benkert is a member of the esports organization Ghost Gaming, which he streams for and creates gaming content for. He goes on to explain his own origins in gaming and how as a 9-year-old he didn’t have his own Xbox to play games, so he’d get up early in the morning to go to a neighbors house and play theirs before they woke up.
Benkert also talked about a website called Game Battles that allowed gamers to connect and play against each other. He contributes strengthening his competitive drive to early years as a Freshman playing against other players on this website. But he also admits that he dropped gaming for most of his college career and it wasn’t until he was a Senior that he picked it back up in secret, because of the negative stigma with gaming. “…people looked at it like if you play video games, you don’t care about whatever else you’re doing.”
But he admits now, he believes that stigma has changed for the better. Part of that change is in large part due to websites like Twitch, which allow gamers and non-gamers from around the world to connect and play or watch games together.
During his Rookie year, a teammate convinced him to just turn his camera on whenever he was gaming, that people might like to interact with him and watch him play. It was something Benkert was a bit hesitant about because there may be people who didn’t understand and think he was shirking his responsibilities as a professional athlete. But he decided to do it and claims it has changed his life.