ESports is a relatively unknown activity that goes on at Oswego High School. The legitimacy of ESports being labeled a sport had been a highly debated topic—it is not a traditional sport, as there is not much of a physical aspect to it. ESports is a very unique activity that involves players competing within a video game. With ESports growing in popularity, OHS students jumped on the opportunity to play competitively at the high school level.
ESports are on the rise around the world. There have been talks of including it in the Olympic Games. However, it’s still a relatively new idea. The OHS ESports program has only been running for five years.
Since ESports is not something that everyone knows about, it was important to get someone with experience in competitive gaming to coach the OHS team. There was no better man for the job than U.S. history teacher Mr. Edward Cann. Mr. Cann has experience in the world of ESports, as he used to compete himself (and was even sponsored by apparel and energy drink companies). When Mr. Cann was approached to be the sponsor for ESports, he quickly accepted.
“[ESports is] competitive video gaming. You take the same principles you see in other sports, but the competition is done through video gaming,” Mr. Cann says.
Many people think about ESports so much differently than they would think about football or basketball. In reality, it is a competition, just like these sports. Sure, the competitors probably are not considered athletes, but the average person cannot play games at the same level as them. The competitors are immensely talented.
“Determining the position that you play in ESports is a lot like determining the position in say football,” senior Fortnite player Christian Arocho says. “Some people are better at quarterback or being a lineman. Some people in ESports are better at different roles within different games.”
The same ideas that are applied to athletic sports provided by the school apply to ESports. Different competitors try out for different roles so they can benefit their teams to maximize their success. The main difference is that, in ESports, instead of using your physical capabilities, you use more of your mind and reaction time, depending on the game.
Competitors take the preparation for ESports very seriously. Outside of the hundreds and hundreds of hours spent practicing and working to perfect the craft of each of these games, there are sessions held at the school that are similar to film sessions done by football teams and basketball teams alike. They look to see what they did well in their respective game and where they can improve. This helps them perform at their highest level.
Competitors like Arocho have been playing their respective games for a long time. He is surely dedicated to his craft.
“I’ve been playing since the game launched… so about three years. Usually, I play eight to 10 hours on weekends, [and] school days probably like three to four,” Arocho says.
The commitment required to compete well in ESports is unheard of. To be putting in this much work just to be a key competitor is more than a lot of other activities. ESports give competitors something to get involved in and gives the game they’re playing a purpose, as they are representing their school.
There are many different games that are played competitively through ESports at OHS. The list includes Overwatch, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Fortnite. The competitors can participate in these in many different ways. The competition can be done all online, and scores are reported to the tournament organizer. It also can be done at a live event, where the competitors are all in the same room.
Senior Lorenzo Felix is a member of the OHS ESports team. Felix is on the varsity DPS Overwatch team. He has a lot of confidence in the program and the people involved.
“I feel as if they’re in good hands for our coaching staff and from the seniors on the team this year. So I feel like they are going to improve,” Felix says.
The program that is held here at OHS is special. Everyone that is a part of it has a good time participating and being part of the team. The interest in it is growing, and the program wants to continue to get bigger and bigger.
If you are an OHS student that is interested in joining ESports, contact Mr. Cann at firstname.lastname@example.org.