McDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — You might be aware of the global phenomenon of eSports, continuing to catch the world by storm. It’s made its way to McDonald County High School and the Mustangs eSports team now has their excuse to play video games.
“What we’re trying to do right now is establish in McDonald County that gaming isn’t just a joke anymore,” Aiden Groh, a McDonald County eSports team member, said. “People can actually take it seriously, it is an actual sport.”
McDonald County’s team has grown from twelve three years ago when it originated to forty members today and counting. From Fortnite to League of Legends, many members partake in different high school matches playing a variety of games.
Those high school matches often times prove to contain fierce competition.
“In general these can be competitive as any other sport,” McDonald County eSports sponsor Kamireon Douglas said. “If you look at a football team and see how competitive they are in their sport, imagine that at a computer screen. It’s that simple.”
And just as other athletes commit to their respective sports, Esports showcases another set of skills unique to its members.
“With video games, it’s something that I can be passionate about and compete at the same level [other athletes] can,” Triston Lawson said. “And it really helps me to get out there and become a bigger part of my high school because otherwise I wouldn’t be in any activities at all.”
The eSports team at McDonald County High School brings together a diverse group of students, and also allows students to find their own niche and show how far gaming can take them. It’s more than a click of the mouse or twiddle of the thumbs. It creates an opportunity to be recognized, or maybe even the chance to go pro one day. Who knows?
But above it all, it allows high school students a chance to level up for the next phase of the game called life.
“ESports has now become a place where if you’re willing to commit to that team atmosphere, play competitively, and have the grades to succeed in college then this provides just another opportunity to get there,” Douglas said.