Esports officially stands for electronic sports, not to be confused with video games. Esports takes video gaming to another level with organized competitive gameplay between two teams, governed by its own strict set of rules and guidelines. The difference is comparable to a pick-up basketball game at a park versus a varsity high school basketball game. Esports requires teamwork, communication, critical and strategic thinking, creativity, sportsmanship, and leadership — much like traditional sports.
Like any other high school sport or extracurricular activity, the student will attend team meetings, practices, and official matches. However, since esports is played online, there is no travel required throughout the regular season. Players compete from their respective campuses, supervised by a coach. Currently, through PlayVS, students can compete in teams of five for Super Smash Bro. Each school year is divided into two regular seasons, Fall and Spring, each with its own playoff season.
Baptist Prep’s esports will attend practice and participate in online matches against other schools throughout the state. A typical game day match includes the time when our team analyzes the data of the opposing team by making pregame adjustments based on the statistics that they are given. Once a game starts, it typically takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes to compete. Afterward, they regroup and make “halftime” changes to implement in their second game match, which takes relatively the same amount of time to complete as the first.
There will inevitably be challenges and early failures, but players who demonstrate grit and adapt/learn will typically succeed in esports. Fortunately, these attributes are exactly what employers and colleges are telling high schools they are looking for in recent graduates. The amount of technology involved with esports enables students to practice and develop STEM skills. Students spend hours analyzing data, game statistics, and strategies, which provide real-world experience and application.
Esports can provide a gateway to colleges and universities. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the main governing body for varsity collegiate esports, has awarded millions of dollars in esports scholarships and aid over the last five years. Currently, more than 200 colleges and universities offer nearly 15 million dollars in scholarships.
This year’s faculty sponsor is Dr. Ron Lindo. The team members include Drew Rainey, David Fong, Jacob Gaer, Kara McMasters, and Stuart Bogard. Competitions will be on Wednesday afternoons after school and will be held in the Research Center. Matches will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour.