E-sports are a national phenomenon, But are they really sports?

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Full disclaimer – I was the faculty sponsor for e-sports for two years at the high school where I work. I may be a little biased here – the tournaments my kids set up were small and local, and honestly 95% Smash Bros. They were disorganized and a hot mess sometimes, because that’s what happens when you have a bunch of teenagers planning things.

They brought the kids together, though. The tournaments helped the kids understand how to plan events, gave them an outlet for marketing creativity on open house nights, and gave them a place to hang out once a week. Unfortunately, my workload this year caused me to drop a few things so I could focus on teaching a new class, and e-sports went. It made me sad to give it up.

It was a fun club full of good kids, and I enjoyed sponsoring it. The kids got a kick out of a teacher playing video games (we’re not all ancient, guys!), and honestly I think they thought it was cool that they could shoot the shit about games with a teacher who happened to be a woman. But the best part about it was that there were leagues for them to join, and these league wide tournaments came with cash prizes in the form of actual, real-life scholarship money.

All of those years of parents telling kids that games would waste their time and rot our minds? Joke’s on you, Mom! There’s a dedicated e-sports scholarship page on Scholarships.com, and many schools with competitive e-sports leagues offer scholarships for talented gamers. Smaller colleges and universities are using leagues as a way to appeal to students and it seems to be paying off. If you check out NCSA Sports’ list of top gaming colleges, you’ll find most of them aren’t the biggest schools in the world. These schools’ programs are supported like varsity sports’ programs would be, however. Even at the high school level, governing bodies more traditionally focused on sports are testing the waters with e-sports. In Georgia, where I am, the Georgia High School Association has begun their overreach into e-sports. – See more here.

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