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An Introduction to ESports

The ESports Team practicing Super Smash Bros Ultimate
The ESports Team practicing Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Sports are a big part of school culture, that’s undeniable. But there’s one sports team that takes things a step away from the physical side, and moves its competitions to the virtual world. That’s right, it’s our resident ESports team!

The concept of ESports is just what it sounds like, electronic sports! It’s a medium in which skilled players can compete against one another in their favorite video games, and fight for the rights of being the best. On occasions, players will even be offered scholarships for their performance, the same as other sports! When asked what his favorite part about coaching ESports was, Mr. Zorn said, “It’s really cool that kids who don’t normally get to be involved in a competitive environment get the experience of being on a team. It’s not exclusive, anyone can join, it’s not gendered, we have every type of person on the ESports team, and they get to enjoy a sports environment where a lot of these kids would not otherwise do that.”

The first of three games to be played each year goes by the name of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, a platform fighter that takes popular game characters from a plethora of series and pits them against each other in single combat. Each player claims a character and goes up against the first enemy, with the first to fall being replaced by the next player on their team, until one team stands above the rest. One of CCA’s best competitive Smash Bros players, Ethan Kohnen, said, “I usually play Donkey Kong, K. Rool, the heavyweights,” in response to a question about the main characters he enjoys playing.

The second to take the stage each year is Rocket League, a game that takes soccer and cars and turns them into something far greater than either on their own. Cars will fly across the ground, walls, and through the air to hit the ball larger than the cars themselves into the enemy goal, aiming to do so more than their opponents. Rocket League has three ways to play competitively, 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 duels. As it sounds, one, two, or three players from each team go head to head, working their best to score more points than their opponents while protecting their goals. This game happens to be the one we’re best at, as our Rocket League team made it to State last year!

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In the Spring, our ESports team revs up again for MarioKart 8! Another game with quite a few vehicles, but in this one racing takes the stage. For our ESports team’s competitions, it’s a 2v2v2v2, meaning four schools go up against each other, two players working together to secure the win against their opponents. MarioKart takes racing a step further with its signature item play- taking iconic power ups and other cameos from the Mario series to add another layer of fun and complexity to the game. This means that while offensive items are good if they’re near opposing teams, they need to be careful as to not hurt their partner’s performance. When questioned about their favorite tracks, Ethan Kohnen stated, “I always liked Toad Harbor, and the FZero maps since they’re faster,” while Miles Falwell, another member of the ESports team, favors “DK Jungle. Easy top track ever.”

Last year was technically the second year we participated in ESports, but was truly the first year we were able to take the program seriously. When asked his thoughts on that first season of ESports, Mr. Zorn said, “We made something out of nothing. Budget is zero, the program basically didn’t exist at this point, and we fielded teams across three different games across three different seasons across the whole year. It’s hard. For example some of these schools… have rooms dedicated to ESports, they have practice after school every day, they have coaches for each game, and that’s where I’d like to be. But right now, looking at it, the fact that we’re going to state, placing seventh out of sixteen teams at state, and that we are competing amongst these teams is really cool to me.”

CCA’s ESports program is still in its early stages, and as time goes on it’ll only keep growing. Its first appearance was a bunch of seniors sitting around playing Mario Kart with a teacher in the room, and last year it became a budding program with far more interest in it, as well as three separate games, alongside Coach Zorn! I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next!

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