E-Sports Gaining Traction In High Schools and Colleges

Emily Klee, Guest Reporter

The outlook of games to most is a fun pastime that ultimately won’t go anywhere, but the High School E-Sports League, PlayVS, and other organizations are trying to change that.

Partnering with companies such as streaming platform Twitch and professional e-sports league OpTic Gaming, they want to show the benefits of adding a gaming league to schools.

E-Sports consists of popular games, oftentimes these games include; Overwatch, Fortnite, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and other Massively Multiplayer Online style games.

Currently, PlayVS lists two forms of e-sports leagues; Club Leagues and Sports Leagues. A club league consists of an after-school club for students to use their platform and play with friends, while a Sports League will compete at varsity level and even at state championship level, in some cases.

HSEL has grown from 200 leagues to over 1,200 across the nation, gaining the attention of students and schools alike to bring students into the idea of gaming as an extracurricular instead of unrelated hobby.

Closer to home, Lawrence Tech hosts the Michigan E-Sports State Champs. High School Teams from all over the state compete in an 8-week season, leading to the top 16 teams competing in a championship with the grand prize of $16,000 in scholarship money per player.

Some people feel great and hopeful about the idea of an E-Sports league at Utica.

“I think an E-Sports league is a great idea,” senior Cameron Haydon said. “Being able to use skill in a game for real life benefits would be great, especially for people who spend the majority of their downtime playing.”

“It’d be great for those who aren’t athletically gifted to have a competitive community they can be apart of,” senior Eddie Yago said. “and while I wouldn’t join myself, I’d still support it.”

Athletics Director Karyn Holmes was open to the idea of a league as well.

“If the interest is there, sure.” Holmes said. “Although I am not sure what the future holds since it is only making its debut at some colleges.”

Although some students feel differently about the concept.

“I really don’t think it should be a school sport,” senior Samantha Whited said. “because by definition, gaming is not a sport.”

E-Sports is beginning to make strides as a serious activity, now being considered a sport by many organizations and schools, and the future seems to be bright for the industry and those interested in the hobby.