Esports growing in popularity

Graham High School has recently added esports into the athletic program and multiple students have been partaking in and enjoying this new hobby. At a professional level, video gamers participating make a living through playing their sport, just like athletic players in football or basketball do. Any multiplayer game can become an esport, but in our local community Smite and Rocket League are the most popular games that are played among students. Graham High School’s esports team includes Abner Sloan, Aiden Stout, Bryce Havens, Gabriel Rife, Jacob White, Derek Cruise, Nathaniel Pruett, Emma Donchetz, Josh Husband, Zach Taylor, and Carter Nipper. These students are a part of a team that, according to Mr. Dixon (Coach), is rapidly growing in our schools and county. 

Emma Donchetz (11) describes Smite as a multiplayer battle arena type game where one plays as different gods/goddesses to defeat the other team. In Smite, gamers play as a mythological creature that uses tactics and abilities to take down the opposing team. This game features many different modes where there are only five players on each team. On the other hand, Rocket League is a vehicular soccer video game where each player tries to score in their opponents goal to obtain points. Gamers control a rocket-powered car used to hit a ball in order to score.  An average of seven minutes per match is given to the players. 

Practices are decided by the team, so we just set a date for practice and get on at that time. Games are similar except they are preset on Mondays and we just get on at the right time,” explains Bryce Havens (10). The esports team practices when each player is available, so practices vary within the week. Emma Donchetz (11) explains that each match is scheduled by the Esports League through PlayVS. All teams are coordinated by the Esports League. Matches and practices are decided by the teams themselves, and each individual has the option to practice on their own. 

Players participating in the esports team at Graham High School report that they are enjoying being involved and recommends esports to anyone who appreciates playing video games. Abner Sloan (11) says, “I definitely think if you’re into competitive gaming like MOBAs or even FBS (first person shooter) to definitely think about it.” Anyone who adores competitive gaming would most likely enjoy being a part of the esports team in our county. 

Scholarships are being offered at local colleges and universities. It is very much a possibility that scholarships will be awarded,” states Mr. Dixon (coach). Scholarships are being granted to players of esports in different areas of the nation and many of the students who are participating say that they will most likely continue Abner Sloan (11) said, “If I got really great with it and kept up, many colleges have scholarships to be on their teams and then past that so I could potentially go really far!” If any students are looking for ways to attend college through a scholarship, esports may be the answer.