Esports is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. at this time, surpassing the NBA*. Western Esports was only recently started at Western High School, yet the team has ended the 2020 fall major season ranked 13th in the nation (HSEL – High School Esports League).
The request to start Esports from Western students was overwhelming about a year ago. Programming began through the School’s 21st Century After-School Programming Grant. After the continued growth and popularity of the sport, the board welcomed a presentation for the Esports program and began looking at the benefits for the students participating in the program. Not only do students compete for scholarships, they become part of a bonding team that will continue with many through college and beyond.
Just like other sports, there are 3 levels of competition, high school, collegiate play, and professional. In high school, the competition is for scholarships, and like any other sport, the potential for a full ride scholarship.
In collegiate play, players are taken to the next level with the goal in mind of possibly landing themselves on a pro team, competing with other colleges, and attempting to get recognized by scouts, where multimillion dollar contracts get signed. Yes, million dollar contracts being signed for playing a “video game”.
With a little knowledge however, people begin to understand these are not just video games any longer at this competitive level. This is a sport; a sport where it is not a measure of height and strength, but a measure of extreme hand eye coordination, reaction time, multi management, and overall IQ. Esports has been referred to as 2020’s new, and extremely improved high-tech chess team.
As do all other sports, Esports take a lot of hours of practice. Practices consist of working hard on game shots daily, coordination on a multitude of levels, communication, game plays, and also film days, where the players must go back and analyze where they went wrong in the gameplay, and attempt to learn from their mistakes. Practice is usually two hours a day, four days a week, and once a week. The competition is hosted by the HSEL (High School Esports League). An outstanding $30,000 of scholarships is offered per season. There are 3,100 High Schools, and over 100,000 students that compete in this league.
Western is extremely proud to say after only a few months of practices, and their very first season, the Esports team did great. Unfortunately, after having a great season, they lost the last game, which put them out of the finals, where the top 8 schools compete for the scholarships. The Western Esports players worked hard every day, progressing to higher levels each day as a team, all working together, towards the same goal. Their reign came to an end, leaving them 13th in the Nation! They are eager to start the next season and very excited to continue the progress of their Western Esports team.