E-Sports unlocking gaming achievements

Stormy Jameson

There are a variety of sports teams, programs and organizations offered for students to join at Lovell High School.
Another new option added to those possibilities has been the addition of an E-Sports team.
What is E-Sports?
E-Sports stands for electronic sports and is a form of competition using video games that allows the kind of competitiveness, teamwork and team structure found within other scholastic team-based sports.
It affords students the ability to gain valuable life lessons and social skills that they learn in a team sport atmosphere.
At the end of last school year, LHS principal Craig Lundberg took notice of the gaming programs expanding across the state and thought it would be an interesting avenue to explore here and presented it to the school board.
“Kids that participate in something tend to do better in other areas, such as in the classroom and socially with their peers,” Lundberg said. “This gives the ‘non-athlete’ students a chance to be a part of a team and compete.”
The school board approved his initiative and named him its sponsor to begin this year.
There was no fall season due to getting things in place and equipment up and going, but they initially had 17 students sign up and register, with the majority of them consistently coming to practices and play.
The team utilizes the school’s computer lab and connects their devices to the monitors to interact with one another in the game.
“To watch some of these kids turn into teammates and step into leadership roles has been amazing,” Lundberg said. “I’ve watched kids who would have never engaged in other similar situations rise and shine as leaders among their peers.”
Although it is not yet sanctioned by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, Lovell High School treats the program like all other teams that require grade eligibilities and expectations to participate.
One of the major concerns regarding the school’s affiliation with E-Sports in general was the content that many games include, such as guns and violence, that is not something the school wants to promote to youth.
The team competes in games such as Madden, Rocket League, NBA 2K, Mario Cart, Hearth Stone, Super Smash, League of Legends and Splatoon.
The Lovell High School E-Sports team has engaged in three weeks of competition already this spring and has competed against teams from Texas, British Columbia, Colorado and Utah via PlayVS that allows them to find matches online.
NFHS has invested in PlayVS and offered the school district three years to begin the platform at Lovell High School without any charge.
Weekly matches are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays through the end of April for the regular season before playoff rounds in the state and region are held based on regular season seedings.
On Thursday, March 7, the team won their first two titles in both Madden and Mario Cart.
“I am pleased with the diverse group of kids we’ve gotten to participate and the good experiences they have had to socialize and come together that don’t fit the typical group,” Lundberg said. “I hope to see more things like this to get involved with to develop more school spirit through representation.”
On Wednesday, March 13, the team continued its season against Horizon Christian High School and Lamont High School in Alberta, Canada, and hopes to see further improvement as the season continues.