It is currently 3:00 AM and your eyes are glued open. What are they fixed to? The television screen. You remember that you have a class at 9:30 AM and start to wonder if you should go to bed. However, your Fortnite player is on the verge of being the last man standing. Okay, school is more important, so you climb in bed and dream of winning the battle.
What are esports? Electronic sports. Competitive video games. There is a negative stigmatism with video games for some, but after learning more about the opportunities it presents, some may change their mindset. Esports are becoming a booming million dollar industry and lucky for GU, BJ Fink has taken the initiative to bring it to this campus. Last year, the video gaming club existed, but this year it a varsity sport. This means that not only are esports now available for GU students, but they even have the chance of earning a $500-$3,000 scholarship based on need, skill, and versatility. Currently, Fink, the head coach, has 40 students committed to play competitively for the 2019-2020 school year. If playing games such as Overwatch, Rainbow 6: Siege, Fortnite, Rocket League, Mario Maker, Apex Legends, or League of Legends competitively is attractive to a student, they have a chance to do so! Additionally, Fink is working with Breck Nelson who is heading the Smart Center project in the hopes of hosting gaming tournaments there.
If that is not enough to convince you that this is a unique opportunity, how about hearing about a personal experience with gaming at GU? Coleton Gensler was the president of the gaming club last year. He was introduced to video games at a very early age when the Dreamcast was around in late 1999. BJ Fink is the reason why he is so involved with esports at GU, and Gensler is happy that this is the case because his experience at GU is better because of it. “Playing video games is a good way to wind down from the day and connect with other fellow students. But being part of esports is a commitment that needs to be taken seriously. Though it is a fun time still,” says Gensler. One of his favorite parts about gaming at GU is the jerseys. “The Jerseys are nice and having my player ID on the back of it is awesome,” adds Gensler. Check out the sweet gear below.
Another video gamer here at GU, Dustin Miller, plays competitively as the schools Overwatch team captain. He finds his motivation to play from the fun times and, “The feeling of accomplishment after beating a hard boss or a puzzle or winning a close fought match or finally getting 100% completion in a game after putting in 100+ hours.” Miller has loved his experience at GU playing esports. “BJ has been great to work with while getting this started. He is always willing to help in whatever way he can and is constantly trying to help the program grow,” Miller explains. He also likes the idea of becoming a varsity sport to help the program expand and so people will view it as more than a hobby. Miller enjoys many aspects of gaming at GU, but his favorite part is the relationships made. Miller spells this out by saying, “My favorite part about being apart of the GU gaming community would have to be that it gives us video game nerds a place where we can have fun with and meet other nerds when we have events for stuff or through our discord chat that we have set up.”
Playing video games may seem like a fun and easy thing to dedicate yourself to, but as with almost anything, time to work on the craft is necessary. “Esports is extremely flexible with student schedules, but when students sign up, they need to be committed. Tournaments are typically on the weekends with one to two team practices a week, BJ explains. He continues with, “We have a whole online community of gamers in our discord channel that people can be a part of if they at least want to join the gaming club and not the competitive teams. We have a 3 tiered structure with competitive teams, streaming corps, and the student-led gaming club. So students can compete, or if they are more interested in the production side of esports, they can join the streaming corps to create original streaming content, web shows, and podcasting.” If you are interested in esports at GU, contact BJ Fink by clicking here!