AU is taking on a new club this year in the form of esports gaming. The sport is essentially “the competitive playing of a certain video game by two organizations, or institutions in this case,” said AU esport player Sam Wells.
Wells, along with his teammates, will be competing in games of Rocket League, League of Legends, CS:GO, Valorant and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) this year.
Esports head coach Duncan Vosburg stated, “I’m hoping we can continue to add to this list, as I find out more students’ interests in competition.”
While the definition of esports may sound simple, there is a lot more complexity to the sport. For instance, in a sport like football, a player occupies one position. Whether they are a quarterback, running back, linebacker, lineman or safety, they typically only compete under that one position. Rarely is there an athlete that plays both defensively and offensively. With esports, you have to play both ways.
“Saying just ‘esports’ is like saying ‘sports’ in general,” said Wells. “There’s so many aspects you can take. There’s a ton of different games that people play that have esports aspects.”
Because of the amount of video games the team plays, they must be diverse in their skillset from video game to video game.
“It’s a weird phenomenon, because with sports it’s a completely different mindset going from one thing to another,” said Wells. “You might have somebody that is really good at a lower-extremities sport, like soccer, who’s really good with footwork, speed and stuff like that and if you were to throw them into baseball, well they’re still playing a sport, but it’s completely different. They might be fast to get to a base, but if they don’t have any upper-body coordination then they’re not going to be able to hit a baseball.
“With esports, there’s still some of that change, but then again everything kind of stays the same. You still have a mouse and keyboard for most of the time and you’re playing a game, it’s just a different way to visualize it. Some people are better at strategy games, some people are better at first-person-shooters. There are a ton of different genres and areas that you play as an esports player. Some are better at or worse at certain things, but it’s more correlated game-to-game then sport-to-sport.”
Unlike many other sports that have been shut down this season, esports will indeed continue this fall. However, even though the esports team will be allowed to compete, that doesn’t mean it’s without any stresses.
“I think that the combination of a first year program with a pandemic has made recruitment of both current students and new students difficult,” said Vosburg. “However, I am hopeful that as the year begins and into next year we will be able to incorporate current students as they find out more about our program, and gather the interest of those looking at AU as an option for university.”
Despite all of the woes of COVID-19, Vosburg still believes that the program will start to take off at AU once students learn more about it.
“I think that has been part of the difficulties with COVID,” said Vosburg. “But as we find ways to connect with more students on campus, we will continue to grow.”
As the fall semester kicks off, participants and viewers alike will watch as esports makes its debut here on campus. As for any student interested in joining the team, Coach Vosburg can be contacted via email (email@example.com) or Instagram (@auesportsprogram). The program will also offer a scholarship to everyone who participates for $1,000 a semester.
“This is our building year,” said Vosburg. “We hope to offer as many competitive opportunities to students as possible, so if you have interests in esports let us know.”