Over 150 students playing five games for ten hours.
Body odor that wrinkles the nose. This is esports, where competitors play video games against opponents who are sometimes in the same room and sometimes on the other side of the world.
Bear Lake High School sent a group of seventeen studentsto Boise to compete in an esports competition two weeks. Those who competed included Jacob Hirschi, Isaac Ray, Henry Keller, Reznor Jacobson, David Lusk, Declan Nunn, Spencer Goostrey, Ethan Kent, Chance Ochsenbein, Zzachariah Downen, Gabriel Hillier, Keaton
Farmer, Zack Dunn, April Shelton, Amanda Bywater, Tyler Lusk, Stephanie Crane, and Hirschi won a gaming keyboard, Goostrey a gaming chair, Hillier a gaming headset, and Farmer an HTC VIVE virtual reality headset.
The esports team at Bear Lake High is a new club thatis still under a lot of fire from the community and even school staff members. Many say that the team is a waste and that the kids are falling behind because they are spending too much time playing games.
In reality, the school esports team has been held toa higher grading standard than the other school sports. Other sports are allowed two reds on the Summit Platform and are given two weeks to get their grades up; however, the esports team decided to make it no reds and only a week to make it up. This was seen as a way to motivate the competitors into having good grades and to prove to the community that the club is legitimate.
They have also taken steps to inform people about the dangers of the online world. They have a set student presidency and are trying hard to build a name for themselves and to prove that participating in esports has benefits.
That wasn’t it the end of it for this gritty group of geeks. The Tactical Bears Cub (the school esports team) is still trying to make a name for themselves and get a foothold in the community. They have even started to make improvements to the school computer lab. Three students, Hillier, Ochsenbein, and Cottle, worked with woods teacher Shaun Clark to build and install some shelves for the CPUs in the library computer lab so students would have a lot more room to work and play. They have also added a cabinet that holds all of their equipment, keeping the lab clear of clutter.
There are many schools offering scholarships includingBoise State University and the University of Utah. While the teams did not perform great at this year’s competition, they are happy to have gone and are excited to work hard and go participate next year.
Advisor and coach Leah Loertscher said,“Although some of the kids wished they would have placed higher they all still had a good time and learned a lot about teamwork and competing.”
The Boise competition is just one in a long line ofcompetitions dating back to 1972 when Stanford University held the world’s first esports competition. This small competition featured only one game, Spacewar, and only had about 100 people in attendance.
These kinds of competitions didn’t really take off untilthe 1980’s when Atari held a championship for the game Space Invaders. Over 10,000 people attended. This is also the first real esports competition on a large scale.
The game Quake then became one of the first widespread games played in the United States, when it held the RED ANNIHILATION, which was online, attracting 2,000 players that competed one on one until only sixteen remained. Those sixteen were taken to Atlanta and fought until only Dennis Fong remained. He won a Ferrari 238 GTS previously owned by the games programmer.
Since then, games like Counter Strike, League of Legends, and Starcraft have drawn in more viewers than the NBA finals and MLB world series. According to HotSpawn.com there were over sixty million viewers at the 2016 league of Legends championship. The same year the NBA finals and MLB world series only brought in a combined total of forty-three million viewers.
These competitions have shaped the modern esports movement into what it is today. That movement has shaped not only a generation but a new area of enhanced computer technologies.