A recent addition to the GC athletics program is not a typical athletic sport like basketball or baseball: it’s the GC esports team.
GC esports is a team of students who play the online game League of Legends, in which players assume the role of a “summoner” who controls a “champion” with unique abilities against other players. The main objective of each match is to destroy the other teams “nexus” inside the opposing team’s base. Teams of five play each other in a match where the winner is determined by a best of three games.
Austin Mender, a senior economics major, said that playing esports is not so different from playing a more athletic sport, but it has its benefits with convenience and availability.
“It’s very similar in a way to playing any other sport,” Mender said. “You still have to practice, your games are every Friday, but you and the audience don’t have to travel two hours to [watch the match] because it’s all on the computer.”
Tryouts for the team are held for all students willing to come. The final roster is decided by Kyle Kibodeaux, a mathematics major, who serves as the coach of the team.
The current roster, consisting of eight to nine players, practices twice a week to prepare for weekly matches on Friday. A starting five is selected for each weekly match from the main roster as well as possible substitutions if certain players are unavailable for the weekly match.
Clem Bell, the community director for Parkhurst, said he has high hopes for the new roster after their 2-2 start to the season and hopes to compete for the PBC championship again this year.
“Growing team dynamic should lead to more wins,” Bell said. “This year’s team does not feature many returner players. This is essentially a new team, and it will take a little more time to get in our groove for a successful finish at the upcoming championship at the end of March.”
The current roster of players is an entirely new squad mostly due to players from last year’s roster becoming broadcasters for GC esports.
Noah Greene, a mass communication major, made the switch from playing to broadcasting to help get more people watching the matches.
“The biggest thing I can be doing is getting people to watch by having an entertaining stream,” Greene said. “I believe the more support we can generate for the team, the better they will play.”
All GC esports matches are shown online through the streaming platform Twitch, a website where players can livestream their matches for viewers and subscribers. This system encourages spectators to not only view the match but engage in a comment section with other viewers.
Chandler Johnson, an engineer information systems major, said the best part of playing on the GC esports team is how enjoyable it is to just play video games with students who share the same passion for the game.
“I always played video games since I was young,” Johnson said. “It’s just fun.”
Photos courtesy of Justin Lillis