School esports on the rise

High school eSports is a relatively new venture for Virginia and the United States as a whole, but the school’s eSports team recently came into the spotlight after the Rocket League division of the team won the Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) state championship against William Byrd High School with a definitive 4-0 victory.

“I am ecstatic,” assistant principal and club organizer Mr. Miles Carey said when asked about how he felt regarding their victory. “I think when I started this club, working with the kids, I never expected us to get as far as they did, but they won a national championship a few years ago. I didn’t expect Virginia to pick it up so quickly, but last year I was working with the VHSL to put this together along with some other sponsors from around the state, and so I’m excited just that we have that competition and I’m blown away by the fact that we won it.”

Club meetings, contrary to popular belief, consist of giving information on upcoming tournaments and planning practices rather than simply playing video games.

“We have the full club meetings probably once a month,” Mr. Carey explained. “In those, we talk about the big events coming up, like if we’re planning to host something or if our team is going to be at a big competition, we’ll share it with everybody. I’ll also try to get feedback from people about things like logo design and jersey design, things like that.”

The actual practices are not held at the monthly club meetings, as it were. “I guess most people would think that if you’re having an eSports team meeting, it’s all going to be playing games,” Mr. Carey said. “But with the meetings, it’s usually just about club business and we do a lot of the gaming at smaller meetings.”

Freshman and League of Legends player Andres Indriago also explained some of the other activities that occurred at practices and team meetings. “We have practices and playoff matches,” Indriago said. “Of course, the season already ended, but Tuesdays were for matches and Thursdays were for practices for the League of Legends team.”

Freshman Gabriel Powers, a member of the team’s Overwatch division, explained that the team members get along with each other very well, but maintain a competitive spirit.

“There’s a lot of competition between the teams, but everyone is friendly to one another,” Powers said.

Indriago also explained the League team’s performance during the previous season.

“We did well,” Indriago said. “We almost made it into semifinals, but we didn’t, sadly enough. We did go to the playoff matches, which we were pretty happy about.”

The Rocket League State Championship was a big step for the school’s eSports team, so the question is simply what they will do next.

“They’re the best in the state,” Mr. Carey said, “Until a lot of other states pick it up, there probably won’t be another national thing like this, but hopefully that’s what it turns into.”