eSports is Gaining Traction

William Ament , N/A

The eSports club at Rosemount high school has grown tremendously in the last year due to an increase in awareness and new hardware. In the spring of 2018, Tyler Pauly and Isaiah Boyd created an eSports club at Rosemount high school because of their passion for video games and eSports. ESports is a growing sport where professionals play videogames in a competitive setting. Interest in eSports worldwide had grown substantially in the last decade, and these two teachers decided to bring it to life at Rosemount high school.

Early last year when Mr. Pauly and Mr. Boyd created the eSports club, they had a difficult time attracting attention to it. Many of the computers had outdated hardware and thus couldn’t run all the games that they would like them to. Mr. Pauly notes that the lack of hardware is because “eSports is recognized as an activity, not a sport. To be recognized as a sport it must be recognized by the MSHSL, the Minnesota State High School League.” Other traditional sports recognized by the MSHSL receive a great deal of funding to run the various programs.

In recent years the eSports scene has started showing up at college and high school levels. Organizations like the high school eSports league (HSEL) have created an environment for people passionate about the sport. Colleges take eSports seriously, and some schools will offer scholarships based on the player’s skill in the same way they grant scholarships to traditional sports players.

Mr. Pauly and Mr. Boyd plan to introduce weekly tournaments to the club next year in an effort to boost its popularity. An attempt was also made this year, but unfortunately, they didn’t receive enough feedback from the club members to warrant a tournament. “We would love to do that [host tournaments], we just have to figure out how to do it when there isn’t consistent attendance every week.”

Mr. Boyd has made another attempt to grow the club’s popularity. For the last couple of months, he has worked on getting new graphics cards (GPU) for the low-end PCs the club uses. After negotiating with the administration, he was able to get brand new graphics cards for all the computers in the computer lab. The new GPUs will enable students to play a wider variety of games at a better performance level. One of the issues with the club, when it’s started out, was that the low-end PCs couldn’t run the games very well. In competitive gaming, the computer’s performance needs to be top notch so that the player’s skill is not negatively affected.