After championship, Esports team looks to the future

Saliha Ansari, Staff Writer

A whole new world where matches, battles, and wars are fought through a screen…Welcome to esports.

When Vincent Martinez, captain of ETHS’ Overwatch team, and a few of his friends started the team, they never expected to win a National Tournament. A year later, that’s exactly what they did.

What are Esports?

Esports, also known as Electronic Sports, are competitive video games. Esports first started back in 1972, but modern esports has seen a rapid rise in popularity over the last decade. ETHS established its team in 2019. The team was created by a squad of then-juniors who wanted to compete in high school tournaments and put their skill to use. ETHS has participated in two seasons and two tournaments, making it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated in the winter of 2019. A year later, the team came back and won the Nationa Championship in Fall 2020.

Esports has a variety of games and sports that can be played.

“Some of the headline, most popular Esports games are Overwatch, CS:GO [Counter-Strike: Global Offensive], Valorant, Rocket League, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros.,” senior Vincent Martinez explains.

About ETHS Esports

As of now, there are six players on the Esports team, but after their win in Nationals, the team plans on advertising and reaching out to more students to join.

“The team consists of hand-picked players, but, looking forward, we are welcoming all to join, if there are too many people, possibly tryouts,” Martinez notes.

For Martinez and the rest of the team, diversity is important. The team looks forward to having students of all grades, genders and backgrounds join in the future.

The only requirement to join is having equipment and skills to play. There is usually a wide range of equipment that can be used in matches, but some games require only a PC or console. The players use their own equipment to compete and practice. Some practices also consist of playing against other teams around the country once a week.

“Practices consist of scrimmages against other teams to test out strategies that we’ve planned,” Martinez explains.

What are Competitions Like?

In the 2020 Nationals competition, the ETHS team competed against about 125 different teams, ultimately taking the top prize

“It is an open sign-up to any high school teams from any part of the country,” senior Samuel Reber explains.

The competition season usually lasts from eight to 12 weeks, and, in the end, the teams’ ratio of wins and losses are compared. The top eight teams with the highest wins move on to the second round. Whichever team wins the second round wins the prize of $6,000 in scholarships. Nationals have a different setup from normal competitions.

“In the league, our team is in, we compete once a week…. we have to win three separate matches against the opposing team to take the overall win,” Martinez says.

There are two seasons each school year: fall, from October to January, and spring, from February to May. The playoff dates consist of pre-quarters, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. Many competitions are done online. Some, though, are local area network (LAN) tournaments that happen in person.

“I love the competitive nature of esports and playing games with a purpose and as a team all with the same end goal,” Martinez explains.

Just like any other sport, esports gives students an opportunity to show off their gaming skills and create a space where they can all play together and connect.

“My favorite part is that you get the thrill of competing while not being limited by the weather or more extreme circumstances like a pandemic,” says Reber.

The best part about esports is that nothing can really affect it because all of it is done online.