High School Gamers to Compete as ISHA Esport

Zahia Khan, Scribe Reporter

SHS gamers are set to participate in the first IHSA esports season.

A new official sports team has joined the fray at Schaumburg High School, but it’s not your typical sport. Schaumburg High School enters its inaugural esports season and is looking for gamers to step up to the virtual plate.

This school year, the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) officially declared esports a sport. Although not a traditional physical sport, esports offers formal competition, setting it apart from the pre-existing social gaming club already offered at Schaumburg High School.

Math Team coach and teacher Adam Koschnitzke is coaching the esports team and understands the demands of esports. 

“​​Gaming Club was student-driven to be a social gaming environment, Koschnitzke stated. “There are no tryouts gaming club, and it is meant to be a fun environment to meet new friends and play any games. Esports is an official IHSA competitive activity, in which we will participate in MSL dual matches and a conference championship. There are practices and tryouts for each game.” 

While gaming club meetings mainly involve practice and preparation for future tournaments, Esports, which meets every Tuesday in room 218A from 3-4 or 3-5 PM depending on the week, offer participants the opportunity to hone their competitive strategies aimed at success when the season begins in the spring and leading up to the state tournament.

The team will compete in five dual meets either virtually or in-person with the other MSL West schools starting in March. Meets will be on Tuesdays and tournaments will be on Saturdays. The IHSA Sectional is April 23rd and the State Tournament is Saturday, April 30th. The Schaumburg Esports team will be competing in 3-person Rocket League, 1v1 and 2v2 Smash Brothers, and 1v1 NBA2K. Additionally, each player can only compete in one competition.

“We help coach game strategy, organization, and team building,” Coach Koshnitzke says. “We are really looking forward to the season. Students are working on team chemistry and improving their gameplay.”

Skeptics may be quick to judge the newly-sanctioned sport, but its supporters have multiple ways to defend it.  Scientifically speaking, competitive esports help students collaborate and learn teamwork skills. They increase social engagement, which is something students have missed over the last two years during the COVID global pandemic.

Esports can also help motivate students to do better in their academics, because they must maintain high marks in order to stay eligible to compete. There are scientific studies that show improvement in brain function for increased attention/focus as well as improved memory and problem-solving capabilities. There are also potential scholarship opportunities offered in esports for after high school.

The esports team is looking for a strong start in its first year. The goals for this season are “to get the team up and running, and iron out the kinks since it is everyone’s first year running an IHSA esports team,” Koschnitzke adds. “We would like to build a positive and winning culture here at Schaumburg for future teams.”

Currently, the esports team is looking for any potential recruits with game experience and the willingness to compete and want to win. If you have experience in competitive Rocket League, Smash Brothers, or NBA2K, consider joining the Schaumburg High School’s new esports team!

 

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