A league of gamer athletes


Mason J. Rockfellow, Reporter

esports, or what others might call video games are now a collegiate sport, and I think that’s fantastic.

For all the college students out there who aren’t the athletic type or just have more fun competing through a computer screen, this is a dream come true.

The video game League of Legends has made its collegiate sport debut and is considered an actual sport. Students who are at a four-year college can try out and possibly make a spot for a team, or students who aren’t trying to chance their luck at a tryout, can also rally a team of their own together. By doing so they will try to fight their way to the top against their college’s teams and others through computer screens to see which college has the best team in North America.

Some of you may be thinking playing a video game is not a sport. Obviously, you’ve never played League of Legends. This is a game that requires a skill set that you can’t just pick up in a few days. It’s a game that requires on-the-spot strategy, timing, communication, and fast reflexes — and to sum it up — some excellent teamwork.

The amount of communication and teamwork that is needed to play this game is just as substantial as any other sport. If you and your teammates aren’t communicating and working together as a team, you might as well just give up and surrender, because the team that is communicating and working together will have the victory in the palm of their hands.

Gamers are competitive just like any other athlete in any other sport. This is a great way for those college students, who are also gamers, to get a chance to compete doing something they love. Plus, now they play at a college-level and even win scholarship money to help them through their studies at college.

With the last year’s 2013-2014 collegiate season successful, over 540 teams from over 300 universities throughout the U.S. and Canada competed against each other to see who was the best team in North America. With the North American Collegiate Championship in 2014, only eight teams made the championship from three different brackets: Colligate StarLeague, Ivy Collegiate League of Legends, and the NACC’s own open bracket to compete for a prize of over $100,000 in scholarships.

That sounds like a pretty good deal for being good at a video game.

University of British Columbia, San Jose State University, University of Washington, and others colleges competed last year in the first NACC League of Legends Championship. University of Washington took the win and the scholarship money last year.

Now, I never would’ve thought that playing video games could help your college career but I was wrong. It’s very real. Another game that is still in closed beta but is trying to make its way to a collegiate sport is Heroes of the Storm, another highly based strategy, and teamwork and communication based video game that takes a certain set of skills. This year, Blizzard is hosting a tournament called Heroes of the Dorm, which is open to students attending a four-year college in the U.S. and Canada. The winners will get their tuition paid for the rest of their college career and fourth-year students can earn up to $25,000 to help pay back college expenses and the top four teams will also get a gaming computer built by Blizzard.

The finals will be on live TV and digital platforms hosted by ESPN on April 26. If ESPN is televising a video game competition live, I’m pretty sure we can call video games a sport, because ESPN is pretty much calling it. Oh yeah, they also have fantasy brackets for LOL and Heroes of the Storm.

Korea has had TV channels dedicated to games like these and we are just around the corner from having the same thing.

In fact, we pretty much do have the same thing but it’s a little different. For all you gamers, you know what Twitch is. For those of you that don’t, Twitch is a website that streams live video games all day and all night long and usually is hosted by the individual playing from their house, you can watch them, even tip them money, but almost every video game out there is being streamed live, and if you didn’t happen to catch it, the stream might have been saved for you to watch later.

Twitch is a great opportunity to show off your gaming skills or just to watch and learn about the games you love to play.

I think esports becoming collegiate is a great opportunity for gamers and students. Maybe a few students will become great gamers and maybe a few gamers will become great students. I think this is just what this generation of students and gamers needs. esports are on the rise and so is the gamer.

To find out more on League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm and their collegiate activity, you can visit na.lolesports.com and www.heroesofthedorm.com and don’t forget to check out www.twitch.tv to see you favorite games played by the some of the best and the worst.