Perhaps one of the most mystifying sports on campus, the eSports team arrived on campus in the spring of 2018 and has quickly grown into one of the most popular club sports. The team is headed by Luke Henry (‘21), who found the club when it first started, spotting fliers inviting students to play League of Legends and compete against other schools. He made the team after competing in tryouts and later on, he was asked head the eSports program, which includes Overwatch, Hearthstone and FIFA. Henry has plans to expand the games played competitively, beginning competitions for Overwatch in late October, Hearthstone and Call of Duty in early to mid-November and Fortnite and FIFA beginning in mid-December.
The team has proven to be wildly popular, with over 50 students attending tryouts to compete for five spots on the varsity squad. Henry is working hard to make sure that all students with an interest can be included, possibly creating a second team. He added on to his idea
saying, “I also plan on hosting a night where people can bring their own team of 5 players and play against the main team for fun.”
Despite playing recreationally, the team also often practices competitively. Henry explained that the required time is dependent on how much time the individual player wants to put into practicing each day. Personally, Henry says that he enjoys playing everyday, because he plays for the sake of playing. The team also practices together on weekends and participate in matches on Tuesdays. To practice, the team plays together over voice chat to work together and develop strategies to figure out what works best for the individual players’ styles, as well as for the team as a whole.
Despite the popularity of the team, Henry states, “The most challenging part would be making sure I can reach out to everyone that is interested, a lot of the people that play video games are hard to reach using conventional recruitment methods such as flyers.” After working hard to recruit interested players, he believes, “The most rewarding part is to see a lot of people come out to events such as tryouts and all gather in one place to enjoy a single common game.”
Despite being popular among the players, many have misconceptions about the competitive aspects of eSports. Henry understands that misconception, saying that oftentimes, eSports are just as popular as other traditional sports; the League of Legends world championship filled Madison Square Garden in 2016 (pictured). Henry is enthusiastic about players joining the competitive world of eSports, saying, “All I would like to share with the community is that, while a competitive community can be for everyone, no matter your skill, no matter your rank, who knows maybe you could be on that stage next because everyone starts from somewhere, here is somewhere.”