At the February meeting of the Greenwood School board the board voted to go ahead with a plan to introduce a new sport to the district, E-Sports.
E-Sports is a term for organised competitive computer gaming.
Greenwood has a long and successful sports program winning state championships in everything from football to golf. Could video games be the next big thing for the Bulldogs?
“This is a program for kids that are involved in video games,” said Andrew Maxwell E-Sports coach. “This will give those students an opportunities to meet and join with others and be a part of a team.”
Currently Maxwell has approximately 40 students, boys and girls, signed up that will play one of three games:
League of Legends, a five player fast paced multiplayer online game in what is known as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).
Rocket League, a three player sports action game featuring cars that play a soccer type game.
SMITE, a five on five player team with mythological gods from roman and greek lore that battle each other for the control of a base .
“High school sports are limited in who can play and how many students can participate,” said Maxwell. “E-Sports stretches beyond those limits to create an all-inclusive no cut team environment.”
Maxwell stated that E-Sports are just like traditional sports in that they require teamwork, collaboration, and leadership between every team member to be successful. With weekly practices and official matches, students will be able to hone their skills and develop a sense of community and involvement at school.
If you think that this is just a group of kids playing video games for fun E-Sports offers a growing market for new jobs in many industries beyond tech & gaming. Along with that, approximately 200 colleges are offering scholarships for E-Sports players and that number is growing. E-Sports has even been recognized by the Arkansas Activities Association.
The first season of Bulldogs E-Sports will begin on Feb. 25 and run through April 22. The teams will play once a week at 4 pm at the school.
“The kid are very excited,” said Maxwell. “I wish more people could come by and see what these kids look like when they are playing and how much they enjoy it. They are already making new friends, discussing strategies and really acting like a team. There is a lot of potential here for a different generation.”