Esports: A New Way to Compete

When you think of video games, you may not particularly think of sports. With the new OHS Esports team set to compete in the fall of 2022, it may change the way you think of sports. 

Oakville shop teacher Christopher Sparks created the club recently, set to compete under MOSEF (Missouri Scholastic Esports Federation). MOSEF is an educational group set up to bring scholastic Esports to schools in Missouri. The organization hopes to create a positive, safe and engaging platform for gamers of every type and every skill level to come together and compete.

“You get to work on a unified team, which does not happen as much when you’re just playing with friends online,” Timothy Lipina (11) said. “Just being competitive is fun. So getting to be competitive with a team you can communicate with and a game that you enjoy is a lot of fun.” 

The Esports team forming at OHS, temporarily named ‘Pizza Hut Pac-Man,’ will be competing in video game tournaments playing games like Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and even Fortnite. These games span across multiple platforms too—from PC to PS4. Just like any other school sport, players are required to maintain a certain GPA and be enrolled in at least three credits during the semester they will be participating. 

“Practices will most likely be at Mehlville High School, because that’s where the gaming machines are,” Sparks said.

Esports are a great way for students who don’t participate in traditional sports to get involved with sports and compete. Players will communicate through Discord, an online messaging platform that is most often used by gamers. The team will have captains who are in charge of making scheduling and planning practices. Team captains will be chosen by who has the best leadership capabilities and who has most experience.

“Whether they’re really good or not doesn’t kinda play into it,” Sparks said. “It really plays into whether they’re good leaders or not.”

There are benefits for students participating in Esports, both culturally and academically. Believe it or not, over 200 colleges and universities in the United States offer scholarships to those who are involved in Esports. Esports also helps students to build helpful technology skills that are involved in CTE career pathways like graphic design and computer science. Other STEAM career pathways Esports players may be led into include video game design, programming, communications and finance.

“There’s a lot of college scholarships available,” Sparks said. “Missouri’s got more colleges and universities in the country that offer scholarships for Esports.” 

Esports helps to build teamwork among students and promotes critical thinking. The sport is as highly collaborative as it is competitive, and allows students to rely on their peers as well as compete independently. With GPA standards being set at a standard as other sports, it encourages students to keep their grades up and maintain a good GPA. Esports has a part for all types of students, for the competitors and those who wish to participate outside of gaming. Positions in social media management and roles for shoutcasters are available for students looking for a leadership role. 

“Come out and give it a shot,” Sparks said. “If you enjoy playing games, hanging out and being competitive, then that’s what we are going to do.”