The rise of esports

The+Nintendo+Switch+is+among+the+many+consoles+students+use+to+play+electronic+sports.

Casey Rothgeb

The Nintendo Switch is among the many consoles students use to play electronic sports.

Rachel Degnan, Staff Reporter

Quarantine opened the door for online gaming to become one of the leading competitive events in the world. CWU Intramural Sports and Special Events Coordinator Shana Kessler defines the term electronic sports, or esports, as “any type of video gaming opportunity that can be taken online.” 

At CWU, there are recreational opportunities for gamers where students can connect and share information without any level of competition. Kessler and her team have set up a Recreation Discord channel for students. 

“It took a lot of work from a lot of students during spring quarter to get it set up,” Kessler said. 

The Discord page is open to anyone and is customized towards its members. 

“If we see that students are looking for new things, we will just add a room for them,” Kessler said. “There is a chance for people to connect and play in any game.” 

There are also competitive opportunities in League of Legends, Fortnite, Overwatch, Madden, NBA2K, Fifa, Mario Smash Bros and Rocket League for people who want to win prizes. 

“The way we design our recreational and competitive leagues is that we don’t put a game number on it,” Kessler said. “It doesn’t say it’s Madden19 or Madden20. It just says Madden.”

Registration for the fall competitive leagues will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30. To register, go to imleagues.com/cwu and log in using student credentials. 

Senior and Intramural Manager Spencer Dalzell considers esports to be more than electronic sports. 

“It is typically associated with competitive video games, but I like to think that it is up to interpretation,” Dalzell said. “When the university shut down, we were looking for ways to get involved. So [esports] is how we have had to adapt with this whole social distancing thing.” 

Dalzell is planning new virtual events and games in hopes of bringing students together.

“I am excited about our trivia night,” Dalzell said. “We get to partner with Campus Activities so we have access to an actual studio and decorations.” 

The esports team is hoping to return to in-person events as soon as possible.

“We actually like the hands-on stuff when we get to do it,” Kessler said. “In the past, we have done in-person esports tournaments and we are hopeful that once things start to return to some sense of normalcy and it is safe for students to do so, we will be able to offer these opportunities.”

Until then, Dalzell encourages students to get involved.

“We are still trying to get enough participants for specific leagues and we are restricted by participation,” Dalzell said. “The easiest way to get involved is to go to the website cwu.edu/rec and then go down to intramurals.”