Gamers Earn Respect through ESports

Stereotypes are disappearing as Esports teams across the nation prove their talent

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Abbey Hardin, Staff Writer

Esports is starting up again for the 2022-2023 season at LSE after making it to the final four of the state tournament last year. Anybody is free to join the Southeast team, and no certain level of experience or equipment is required.

Esports teams across the state and nation aim to bring people with similar interests together. “It’s a great opportunity for students to represent their school by participating in a fun, competitive hobby that they already do at home,” Patrick Kirkland, who is the coach of Southeast’s team, said. 

With video gamers starting to earn more respect over the last few years, high school students are able to make something out of their love for popular games like Rocket League, Overwatch and League of Legends. Participating in Esports is a great way to meet new people that also have a passion for gaming, and can offer similar experiences to traditional sports, which aren’t for everyone.

“Students build leadership and communication skills, and learn how to be resilient and supportive of each other in order to be successful,” Kirkland said.

During games, the team usually splits into teams of 3 and plays against other schools in the area. Last year, Southeast’s team worked their way into the final four of the state tournament after being very successful in Rocket League, which is a game that is, in simple terms, “soccer with cars.” Players are encouraged to practice at home, but the team meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15-4:45 in room C130. 

In the November 2021 Lincoln Journal Star article titled “Lincoln Schools Seeing Success in Esports as Competitive Gaming Grows in Popularity,” Becca Holladay interviewed Ryan Hinds, the head coach of the Esports program at Concordia University, who said “the stereotypes about what it means to be a gamer are disappearing as video games become more mainstream.” 

Stereotypes around people that play video games might include negative words like lazy, but Esports programs are turning those stereotypes around, and showcasing the hard work it can take to be successful in Esports competitions.