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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

New-Era Esports

A generational wave of esports has revolutionized the world of gaming and education.
Maxima de la Fuente

   As the world of gaming continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, a new form of entertainment has taken the world by storm – electronic sports (esports). Esports is a competitive form of video gaming that has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years. From high school esports teams to tournaments with multimillion-dollar prize pools, the post-pandemic esports revolution shows no signs of slowing down. 

   “The gaming industry is tipped to maintain its recent rapid growth, and could be worth $321 billion by 2026,” the World Economic Forum wrote in August. “Millions of new players splashed out on games and consoles during COVID-19 lockdowns.”

   Trinity Prep’s Chief Technology Officer and esports club sponsor Alex Podchaski said the number of students playing video games rose dramatically during the pandemic. With few options for stress relief and socializing, gaming soon became an obvious choice.

   “[Gaming] is sort of part of the fabric of our culture,” Podchaski said. “There have been very few opportunities to express [gaming] officially in a school environment so one of the things that I wanted to focus on specifically is the concept of academic or scholastic esports.”

   The growth of esports has allowed high school students the ability to pursue a passion for gaming in a competitive, organized environment.

   In 2018, a major milestone was achieved when the National Federation of State High School Associations recognized esports as an official sport. Since then, more than 8,600 high schools have started their own esports teams.

   This explosive growth has resulted in the expansion of esports scholarships and careers. This trend has been particularly evident at some of the largest and most prestigious universities in the country, including Texas University, Ohio State, and many UC universities. These schools have allotted funding resources to give students the opportunity to compete and explore a career in gaming.

   “When you have colleges building stadiums and giving scholarships for esports, maybe it’s time to start taking it seriously,” social science teacher Brandon Burmeister said. “That it is a thing that has a large audience, marketability and is culturally impactful.”

   An increase in student interest, real-life opportunities, and the ability to garner scholarships have prompted Trinity to follow suit this school year with the creation of its own esports team, headed by Podchaski. Among the first students to sign up for the new club was sixth grader Max Agnew, who was excited and eager to get started.

   “[I]t makes it feel like school is not just sitting and learning,” Agnew said. “It feels fun and makes school much better.”

   The implementation of esports represents a significant step forward, as in the past, Trinity has focused on more traditional sports and extracurriculars such as football or debate. The team currently competes in the Sunshine State Esports league in Rocket League and hopes to expand into multiple games by the end of next year. The league operates on a statewide level with weekly scheduled games being played between different schools.

   “The goal is [to create] an opportunity to get to participate in something that’s a little bit bigger than just playing against your friends and an opportunity to meet people and learn,” Podchaski said

    In the past six months alone, the team has grown by 167%, from six to 16 students. The team is currently comprised of only middle schoolers, but Podchaski hopes to expand into high school soon. This year was a starting point for the team who hopes to make massive improvements to both its roster and competitive abilities in the future.

   “This past fall focused on middle school [and] the first high school rocket leagues are taking place this spring,” Podchaski said. “We’ll have all summer to recruit people to play games for a full high school and middle school suite for the fall.”

   Trinity esports, like any other sport, gives participating students pride, improves cooperative skills, and is naturally competitive.

   “Whether you’re throwing a ball or smashing a keyboard, it’s still competitive,” Burmeister said. “[It] kind of gets your blood pumping, gets the endorphins running and it’s fun.” 

   As the world delves into a technological revolution, skills and abilities developed in esports have real-world applications. Esports introduces pathways to prepare students for the future and allows for a new avenue to success. 

   “[Esports] gives you an opportunity from within the school environment to say, ‘I may not be the tallest person, the fastest person, or the most athletically gifted person, but you know what, I have really good reflexes, I can follow the games and I can represent my school,’” Podchaski said. “That is something that I would hope that everybody should have an opportunity to do.

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About the Contributors
Gustavo Membreno, Podcast
Gustavo Membreno is a sophomore entering his first year as a staffer. He is currently a part of the Podcast Department. In his free time, he likes to play the piano, soccer, and chess, and watch movies with his family. Contact at [email protected].
Nikhil Daniel, Staff Writer
Nikhil Daniel is a sophomore entering his first year on staff as a writer for the opinions department. When Nikhil is not debating, he likes to play chess, listen to Drake, and binge-watch "Suits". Contact him at [email protected].

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