Holland Patent CSD Officially Joins Esports League
Playstations, Xboxes and other gaming consoles are becoming the new sporting equipment for many high schools and colleges around the nation, along with popular games like CS: Go, Fortnite and League of Legends. The popularity of these games and all gaming has increased dramatically over the past several years, making it a new sport. That’s right, competitive video gaming is recognized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference as a varsity sport commonly known as esports. And, students in the Holland Patent Central School District now have an opportunity to participate in the High School Esports League.
With the season beginning in March, the Golden Knights currently have 11 students in grades 9-12 registered for the league with another 21 who have expressed interest. All students are welcome to join, but they must maintain a 2.5 grade point average, have good attendance and follow the same behavioral rules as any other varsity sport.
“Esports players at Holland Patent will be competing with other schools in North America,” explained Margaret McNamara, who is leading the Holland Patent esports team. “The students are currently working on skill building until the season starts and then we will have playoffs and finals. Eventually we will be streaming our events in the high school gym, much like a basketball tournament.”
Students, parents and the school district community will begin to see benefits of an esports team, which include providing students who play video games a platform to compete and make friends; reach students who are not otherwise participating in extracurricular activities; provide incentives to raise academic grades; promote teamwork; increase skills such as problem solving; increase reflexes and hand-eye coordination; prepare for careers that require mastery of digital media and technology; and provide increased interest in STEM related-fields.
“Esports has allowed schools to transform athletic opportunities for students while promoting physical and mental health, as well increase pathways for college scholarships,” said Holland Patent CSD Superintendent Jason Evangelist. “We are excited to see what our students can achieve with this new league and where it will take them in their futures, especially for students who may not be considering higher education.”
For Holland Patent students, this new league is more than just playing games.
“Esports means more than gaming to me,” said Esports Club President Ryan McGahey, a junior at Holland Patent High School. “This is an opportunity to use skills that previously were not recognized as legitimate. I hope to be part of something revolutionary.”
More than 475 of the nation’s colleges support esports with nearly 50 schools providing a total of more than $59 million in scholarships to gamers. Some colleges offer full ride awards for esports games such as Overwatch, CS: Go, League of Legends, among others. In New York state, Canisus, Siena, Keuka and Iona are just a few of the colleges who offer esports competitively.
In 2018, the second-most watched sporting event in the United States after the Super Bowl was the League of Legends finals.