Esports: Game on, Bob Jones!


Attention all Bob Jones students! Gamers can participate in statewide e-sports competitions under the Alabama High School Athletics Association. Mrs. Lambert and athletic director Coach Runnion have been recruiting students to join our new Esports teams. If you’re interested, make sure to sign up for BJHS ESports Team Informational Meeting during this week’s Patriot Path.

For the inaugural season, students will play three games: League of Legends, Smite, and Rocket League. Two more games will be announced in next season. 

Bob Jones students will compete against other e-sports teams in Alabama. The competitions are separated into two seasons: one being February through May and the other October through January. Each co-ed team will consist of six people and compete in individual, dual, and quad competitions. Each school can have as many teams as it wants. Martin Chou, the assistant director of the AHSAA stated in a memo, “Our hope is ESports will attract students who are not active in a sport, as well as, offer a platform to students with disabilities who may not be able to compete in a traditional sport.”

Students and teachers from other schools agree that there are advantages joining an e-sports team. Ms. Aubree White, an English teacher, assistant basketball coach, and gamer, said, “I feel that the addition of Esports is crucial to the inclusion and recognition of all types of athletes in modern high school sports. Students that compete in Esports will still mirror the skill sets of traditional athletes: defensive skills, offensive skills, strategy, endurance, etc.” It builds character working in teams and displaying discipline, self-esteem, and sportsmanship. Sophomore Brandon Clark said, “There may be a little controversy about it being considered a “traditional” sport, but most people don’t recognize all of the different skill sets it takes to play Esports.”

Participating students also have the chance for scholarships. “200 colleges and universities offer almost $10 million in scholarships,” PlayVS stated on its website.  Some colleges include Full Sail University, Georgia State, and more.

The PlayVS website lists the base fees to play at $16 a month, $60 a season, or $160 for an entire year. Our school may have additional fees. All students are eligible and have an equal opportunity to participate, male or female. For gear, students must bring their own computer/laptop until the school can provide computers with the proper specs and a mouse, keyboard, and headset. Competitions early on will take place on campus, and practice and competition dates are yet to be determined.

Any student with a passion for video games can participate. Even teachers are excited about the prospect of supporting our e-sports teams. Ms. White added, “Video games have been a part of my life since I was very young. My dad allowed my older brother and me to play his Super Nintendo, and my love for games took off from there. (I think I was four when I started.) I played whatever was available. When we got our first desktop computer in our house, I played games there. I played anything from Nintendo to GameBoy (color, advanced, etc.) to Playstation to Gamecube to Xbox. I have played entertaining games and educational games. I have just always loved games. It is a perfect way to connect with friends or just detach yourself from the stresses of every day life. Today, I play mainly on the Xbox One platform. Halo has always held a big place in my heart. Throughout college, I and some friends would play in 4v4 tournaments whenever we could. I am also a big fan of role playing games – Skyrim being my all time favorite. I have always enjoyed the Call of Duty games or the Battlefield games. (First Person Shooter games will probably always be a “no” in high school e-sports for obvious reasons.) I have even jumped on the Fortnite train; however, I will admit that my building skills hinder me from being as successful in that game as I am in other or previous FPS games. I have streamed from time to time on Twitch, and I have even played with well-known streamers today (Ninja being one I am particularly proud of). Video games have become a very important hobby for me. Those that know me well never have to ask me what I do in my free time.”

Some of the logistics and fine details are still being ironed out, but attending the Patriot Path meeting is going to be the best way to get any questions answered and to participate.

For now, visit this article for more information about Alabama’s newest high school sport.