Kingsway offers a wide range of sports, from tennis to cross country to bowling. But with last year’s addition of a new program, less-athletic students can still find their place on a sports team.
Esports is just like any other sport at Kingsway. The only difference? Members of Esports compete by playing video games.
The team, which is now being recognized by Kingsway as an official sport, plays competitively against other schools in the Garden State Esports League (GSE). Melanie Springer, who coaches Esports along with Jasmine Amberths, explained, “Schools first compete in a regular season consisting of weekly matches against other schools in their conference (similar to other high school sports). This is followed by playoffs if the team does well enough to advance.”
Up until this year, the team has competed only by playing Rocket League, a teamwork-based game that combines soccer and car racing. However, the team is excited about the new additions of Super Smash Bros Ultimate (SSBU) and Overwatch 2.
“We are very excited to coach these new games, and see how far our new teams can go,” Springer said.
Though the idea of playing video games competitively seems more laid-back than other sports at first glance, it requires the same amount of practice, dedication, and effort. Ash Apgar, a substitute player on the team, explained, “Playing any game competitively makes you think more about the mechanics of it all… compared to playing with your friends where you don’t truly think about things like that.”
Among other team members, Apgar also felt that one of the best parts of being on the Esports team is getting to know all the other team members and form a sense of community. “Everyone is so humble and kind. They could be leaps better than I am but they’re always up for a match and always giving me advice on how to better my skills.”
When asked about what motivates students to join, Antonio Segarra, one of the Rocket League team captains, explained that “[new members are] given the opportunity to be a part of a great community.” Esports has evolved so much since last year from a group of students who compete playing video games to a recognized sport and community of students.
Students might also join out of interest in a particular game played by the team, such as Rocket League or SSBU. Springer revealed, “By trying out for the team, [students] could get a spot and possibly even earn a varsity letter. Students may also be encouraged to join if they know others on the team, know the coaches, or want to learn more about other aspects of esports such as managing, data analysis, video editing, or commentating.”
Dylin Cho, captain of the SSBU team, offered a word of advice for interested students or new members: “Try to have fun, even though you’re now playing this game on a competitive level, there are still many ways to learn from it and have fun.”
By Madison McNally, KRHS Senior