E-Sports Spread to BHS

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Schools across the U.S. have begun creating teams to play video games in an emerging sector of athletics known as E-Sports.


E-Sports players compete in tournaments created by the High School Esports League (HSEL). Games played include Fortnite, Overwatch, Call of Duty:Black Ops, League of Legends, and many more. College recruiters often offer scholarships which can cover up to 70% of a student’s tuition, according to the HSEL website.


This leads many to wonder if BHS should create an E-Sports team.


Many BHS students admit to playing video games quite regularly.


“I probably play about 10 hours a week,” said Sasha Halfon-DeLay, junior.


Although many BHS students hadn’t heard of E-Sports, they did support the idea of starting a team.


“I think that BHS could have a lot to gain from it,” said Aidan Berger, freshman.


“We should because it adds more experience opportunities for students,” said another freshman student.


Mr. Kitts supported the idea of starting an E-Sports team.


“Absolutely, as a matter of fact, gaming is something that the Virginia High School League is even talking about at the state level because it’s becoming so popular around the country. So yeah, we would absolutely be open to looking at opportunities and ideas to promote that here,” said Mr. Kitts.


Starting a team wouldn’t be a challenge. All that’s required to start a team is a minimum of five people (but ten is recommended), $10 per student, and a teacher to sponsor the club. The club would then send in an application to HSEL. When approved, that team could participate in tournaments.


According to Mr. Wickham, our technology wouldn’t be a barrier.


“The Desktop computers could probably run the games. The Chromebooks [could], depending on what [the games] are. If they’re web-based, . . . they could,” said Mr. Wickham.


Virginia currently has 22 High schools that play in the HSEL. Additionally, tournaments are played online, meaning schools from opposite sides of the nation can play against each other.


Junior and Senior E-Sports players are often given scholarships to play in college. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) has funded over 16 million dollars in scholarships for E-Sports players to go to college, according to the NACE website.


Virginia currently has five colleges with E-Sport teams: Averett University, Northern Virginia Community College, ECPI University, Shenandoah University, and Randolph-Macon College. A full list of colleges with E-Sport programs can be found here.


College level players compete in a variety of different games including the following: Counter Strike, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League.


Twenty-seven million people watched the League of Legends championship in 2014. That is far more than the number of people who watched Major League Baseball’s World Series (13.8 million) and the people who watched the NBA finals (15.5 million), according to the NACE website. Esports seem to be the future of athletics, and it’s up to BHS to decide if it should join that future.


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