Are YOU Game?

By Justin Friday

How often have your parents told you to stop playing video games and go outside? How often have you been told that gaming can’t get you into college? Those people may have to eat their words, because as of today, competitive varsity gaming exists in colleges all over the United States.

Schools such as Harvard, Princeton, and Illinois State have created full-time varsity gaming teams that have jerseys, coaches, merchandise, fans, practices and everything else that comes with participating in any other team like football or soccer.

This isn’t a new phenomenon either; for years ESPN has broadcasted League of Legends, Dota, Starcraft. In a competitive environment, grossing revenue that could go toe to toe with any major league sport event. Every year scholarships for these gaming teams are received  anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 each. A few high schools even offer high school varsity gaming teams that give students the opportunity to be scouted by college teams.

However, one of the most vocal oppositions is from parents who have concerns for how these gaming teams would affect their children’s’ grades and social life; however, Varsity Gaming might actually have the reverse effect. Students who join the Varsity Gaming teams tend to show improved test scores because these students acquire better time management, concentration, long-term planning skills, improvisation, and superb problem solving all from balancing their gaming team with studying.

In addition, a student may be part of a five to twelve person team on which he constantly has to rely.This results in strong friendships and meaningful social connections. When asked about the usefulness of gaming team, Oakdale student Kayla Baker expressed; “

is like an art; it helps you concentrate and relax and is also fun.”

Varsity Soccer Coach and History Teacher Daniel Mulcahy, however, has a slightly different opinion on the topic: “[I think] it’s ridiculous to call it a varsity sport. I support providing as many extracurricular opportunities as possible, and it’s a great and unique concept but I wouldn’t classify it as a sport.”

He has a son; what would he do if his son were to one day ask him to try out for varsity gaming? Mr. Mulcahy responded, “My only hope [as a parent] is that my child is happy. Any parent would tell you that they would support whatever their child felt passionate about (but he’s still little so I don’t worry about that much.)”