All-female championship esports team DIG Fe doesn't want to be identified as 'girl gamers'

Emmalee Garrido and Carolyn Noquez never intended to become professional gamers. When they both started out, neither of them imagined that they could be paid to play. They just liked gaming.

After several years of working multiple jobs and balancing gaming with school, Garrido and Noquez are living the dream with their championship-winning all-female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports team, DIG Fe. They spoke to Yahoo Sports about their journey to gaming, the games they play and why they don’t want to be identified as “girl gamers.”

Both Garrido and Noquez want more women in gaming, but they try not to think about the gender of their competitors. They try to see opposing teams as obstacles to eliminate, and hope others think of them the same way. At the same time, women in gaming have started to become more prominent. Garrido and Noquez have been thrilled to see an increase in female spectators coming to watch their tournaments and more all-female teams actually competing.

They also talked about the similarities between esports and traditional sports, and there are more than you’d expect. Garrido compared their 5-on-5 setup in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to a basketball game.

“You have people that are in the front line that have to make the shot, you have people in the back that are protecting the hoop like our game, and then you have people that are causing a distraction a little bit, which is the lurker,” Garrido said.

Their all-female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team even visited the Philadelphia 76ers facility recently to talk with sports psychologists, trainers and some of the players. They discovered that they encounter some of the same issues as athletes, and that playing a game can lead to similar experiences regardless of whether you’re dribbling a basketball or holding a controller.

Emmalee Garrido, the captain of Dignitas' female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team critiques her team's performance in 2019. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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