Esports is the 2019 Buzzword of the year.
In a world of digital media, it comes as no surprise that competitive video games is now on the table for the newest school activity, and NETA is proud to be a proponent of the activity by sponsoring an Esports tournament at the 2020 Spring Conference.
To learn more about the tournament and what it will offer our membership, we talked to Ryan Hinds, who will be leading the tournament at the conference.
What is Esports exactly? Hinds calls it what it is: competitive video games, but then goes in depth to say that it offers an opportunity for kids who are not interested in traditional sports to have another way to get involved with another team, or another community while providing opportunity to gain an interest in other things that traditional sports offer. On top of playing video games competitively, they learn about streaming, casting, and commentating.
“So there’s even more going on than just playing games. It’s the whole production around it,” says Hinds.
Hinds feels strongly about the importance of competitive esports in a school district.
There might be kids who don’t even care for traditional sports like football, volleyball or basketball, but they really like video games. By providing competitive esports, they might be apt to get out of their bubble and try something new. Gaming can be an isolating activity, but when you pair it with a team aspect, it takes on a more important meaning: community.
Esports highlights a different interest that kids have, and shows them that they can do other things with that. They can learn to be a part of a team, a community, classmates, while also being able to create things for the team like graphics.
But what exactly does a tournament look like? Essentially, a bunch of teams gather at the same location and either play a double elimination bracket, or round robin format, and they are a great way to get everyone together, instead of just playing online from separate locations.
Games vary depending on the season, in the fall, this particular league plays, Overwatch, Rocket League, and Starcraft, and their spring season consists of League of Legends and Smash Brothers, but depending on any district’s interest, they can play whatever games the students are most interested in.
Ryan suggests that if you’re not sure what you as a student, or even a district might like, try picking one game for one season, and seeing what kind of traction you can grab.
At NETA, the tournament will be set up very standard.
The tournament will be taking place during the spring season, and should include 4-6 teams who will be playing League of Legends and Super Mario Smash Brothers.
Mario will be set up on a Nintendo Switch, with competitors sitting side by side, and audience members standing around. For League of Legends, there will be a big box of computers set up facing away from each other. All teams will play through a double elimination.
Ryan encourages an audience because he believes it’s just as enjoyable, and educational for the people who attend the tournament. “ People should watch because there are at least five kids at every school who want to do this, but when you find those 5 kids who are not interested in anything, and then grow the team to include the kids who are involved with everything, you can get them together, and then you can see how they work together and it teaches all of these extra skills, and sometimes that’s lacking for the kids who just go home and play video games.
As an organization who is proud to offer opportunities to stretch yourself by reaching for higher standards, we are excited to be sponsoring an event that encourages schools to step into the future and add something new to their district.
“My hope would be that in the not so distant future, we will have the opportunity to split out our schools into districts, with conference matches and tournaments, and are excited to be able to start doing things like a state competition for the first time this year,” says Hinds.
You won’t want to miss the first ESports tournament this year March 26th at the Spring Conference. For more information contact Lisa Bohaty at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the hashtag #yourNETA.