5 Things I learnt from the SA Call of Duty Champion, Jesse Kahn
When anyone mentions their son is an online gamer, the image that enters our minds is that of a couch potato, sedentary and energy-drink-fuelled.
This month however, this stereotypical viewpoint was challenged by a biokineticist & athletics coach, who moonlights as a professional gamer. Jessi Kahn, better known as causticninja5 in the gamingverse, is the reigning female champion of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 in South Africa.
She visited Screen Smarts to talk moderation, competitive drive, and the benefits of online gaming for adolescents.
Here are 5 things I learnt from my interview with her.
#1 IT IS POSSIBLE TO KEEP IT HEALTHY
To many the term ‘healthy gamer’ sounds like an oxymoron.
Can one be a professional gamer and still lead a healthy life?
Jessi explains that self-discipline is at the core of everything she does.
“I lead a completely balanced life. Although I play 2-3 hours every evening it doesn’t interfere with my job, my family relationships, or my daily gym sessions. I think it comes down to personality. If you have the self-control set boundaries, gaming can form part of a healthy lifestyle.”
She goes on to explain:
“This whole unhealthy lifestyle that is pinned on gamers is actually unfair. You can, not be a gamer and still be unhealthy. Once again, it comes down to personality and choices.”
When prompted on the addictive nature of first-person shooter games like Call of Duty, Jessi pointed out that they are no more addictive than mobile phone games such as Candy Crush.
“For an adult, you obviously need to know when to switch off, if you’re a parent you need to set boundaries for your kids. There has to be boundaries. If you find that your child is getting through his homework and is playing a bit of sport, its okay to allow them some game time.”
Jessi explained that it is very hard for a child to manage their own time when they get sucked into the storyline or when the manufacturers bring out a new game mode. “When a new game mode comes out it is difficult to regulate the time you spend-even for me, everyone just wants to play it.”
#2 AGE RESTRICTIONS ARE THERE FOR A REASON
Jessi feels strongly that children should not be allowed to play games that are not age appropriate. Call of Duty MW 2 contains cut scenes of torture, blood and gore. The game is rated 18 by Common Sense Media for a reason.
“I don’t believe youngsters should be playing those type of FPS games, there are so many others that they can play to develop their reaction time without the gore.”
#3 YOU NEED TO BE QUICK OFF THE MARK
The next thing I learnt from my conversation with Jessi is that it takes her around an hour just to get her “eye in” and her response rate quick enough to be competitive.
According to an article by Forbes, what sets a professional gamer apart from others is their ability to find the right information quickly and to anticipate things before others do.
Jessi echoes this by explaining that there are many streamers in the US she would love to play with, but if she had to join on their server, there would then be a 300 millisecond lag (300 ping) delaying her response time and making her look bad.
I asked Jessi if she ever dreams that she is in the game and she said that when she first started playing Call of Duty her eyes would be tracking and looking for the enemy while she was asleep.
#4 THERE ARE SOME GREAT BENEFITS
According to causticninja5 there 3 benefits that eSports can lend an adolescent:
“It sounds funny but you really do meet cool people. I have never met them face-to-face, but one of my best friends is in Hull, in the UK and she invited me to her wedding!”
#5 IT’S OKAY TO BE COMPETITIVE
Having achieved a black belt in Judo and provincial colours in hockey and soccer, Jessi promotes a competitive drive. She says that knowing how to lose is imperative for a child’s growth:
“To me you never lose you only learn!”
GET TO KNOW JESSI KAHN:
Jessi Khan is an athletics coach, biokineticist and professional gamer. She has a black belt in Judo, and provincial colours in soccer and hockey. Jessi is the SA Female champion of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and lives in Gqeberha, South Africa.
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