Esports: Blasting Off

Although Esports has been around for some time, the inaugural year for OLu’s Esports team fostered memories and victories that will last a lifetime.

What was once a simple leisure activity created for the enjoyment of others during their free time is gradually approaching a global stage of athletics alongside sports such as tennis or even soccer. Esports, a new type of sport played through a digital interface, is essentially competitive video games and is on the rise.


What is Esports?

If you’re unfamiliar with Esports, it is the playing of competitive video games with real-life prizes at stake and not just in-game rewards. For instance, professional gamers can earn upwards of millions of dollars to win tournaments; those rewards don’t just extend to professionals. At the high school level, highly skilled teen gamers receive opportunities to sign and continue playing at the collegiate level (UC-Irvine, for instance, has a robust Esports program). Just fifteen years ago, opportunities like these did not exist and were not an option for youth, but with changing technologies come changing times, bringing us to OLu’s first-ever Esports team and season.


Esports at Orange Lutheran

Esports has officially been recognized and endorsed by CIF, and OLu was one of many schools to jump at the offer. The first season was filled with ups and downs, but it was led by a resilient team. This season, the video games included in OLu’s Esports program were Overwatch, Rocket League, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, and Splatoon. 


Setting an Esports Foundation

All games had a smooth first year, with Overwatch winning UFEA league championships. Team Captain Jack Hoyle stated that the first-ever year of Overwatch was an “absolute success” and “set the foundation” for the program “for years to come.” Overwatch was not the only game to experience success, with Smash Brothers coming in as runner-up for League in the fall and spring seasons. Smash Brothers Captain Toby Bolcer stated that the seasons “went exceptionally well” but “had much room for improvement.” Even though Esports, in general, was met with some resistance and even controversy on whether it was an actual sport, its launch year at OLu has proven that Esports has the potential to be wildly successful with sufficient support.


The future is bright for Esports. Hoyle believes Esports is growing to be on the same level of crowd interaction and popularity as other sports and will eventually stand alongside them. 


I, for one, cannot wait for that day to come.

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