Video Game Heroes
A new student club is producing an unlikely class of heroes who can bend time, defy physics, and unleash an array of extraordinary powers. And they are annihilating the competition.
Last fall, it was just a big idea. Now, over 70 students are involved in one of the biggest organizations on campus – Washington College’s eSports Club, uniting international students, members of fraternity and sorority life, varsity athletes, and campus leaders.
Within the eSports Club competitive component, there are four individual teams, independently led by a student coordinator. Each team is responsible for a different game—Overwatch, League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Counter Strike: Global Objective. Players meet weekly to practice and talk strategy.
On April 10, the Overwatch team made history, as six of Washington College’s best players shut out Averett University with a 4-0 victory. The Shore team, led by Mike Spence ’21, hopes to join an official league in the upcoming year so they can continue to compete.
“My main goal for our team is to keep growing and practicing,” remarks Spence, an economics major with a minor in accounting and finance. “I am very pleased with where we are right now and really excited to see where we can go in the future.”
The winning streak continued last Tuesday, as the League of Legends team, led by computer science major Carl J Williams ’20, beat Averett University in its first match. It was supposed to be a best-of-three game series, but after a huge win in the first game, Averitt decided not to play the second game, resulting in a forfeit win.
Each week, the Hall of Fame Room in Cain Gymnasium is transformed into an uplifting space, full of laughter, encouragement, team-building, and of course, winning. Synchronously, students like Williams and Spence are cultivating leadership skills and building strong and dynamic teams. However, as membership rapidly expands, the group is desperately in search of a permanent space to accommodate the growing organization. Club organizers also want to purchase additional equipment and involve alumni in the group.
Reflecting the speed with which the club is growing, just this week the SGA just approved a request for funding for the club to join the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which sponsors intercollegiate esports.
“I have never been prouder of a group of students, as a whole, in my academic/athletic professional career,” notes Steve Kaneshiki, the coordinator of campus recreation. “I have never seen so many students from different cliques come together and embrace each other with no questions asked except for one … ‘Do you like video games?’”
Although the eSports club is winding down for the year, they have one big match left – April 25 versus Cleveland State University in League of Legends. As with previous matches, this final match will be livestreamed on Twitch TV.
Kaneshiki notes that an intramural coordinator helps run any console single-day tournaments for students as part of Campus Recreation programming. In addition, a community coordinator plans non-competitive activities for the campus. If you would like to get involved, contact Kaneshiki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Meredith Kenton ’19