Esports beneficial to high schoolers

Gabe Jernigan, Technology Manager

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Since 2002, competitive gaming — also known as esports — has gained an extraordinary amount of popularity with the release of Xbox Live. To be more specific, esports are more popular and beneficial to high schoolers because they give everyone, regardless of physical athleticism, a chance to compete. 

Wide varieties of people can play any video game since there are no physical requirements to play, whereas sports like football require fast, strong and versatile athletes. In terms of diversity, there are far more games to play than there are physical sports and I see that as a big advantage. 

While some of those games may not be as popular as Fortnite per say, people can still play in smaller competitions. If a high school gamer wanted to continue their competitive gaming after high school, then there are a growing number of colleges who offer scholarships to represent their university in the esports world. Leading the charge is the University of Utah, who is one of the larger schools offering scholarships. Stephens College is home to over 31 scholarship-sponsored esports programs. Gamers can even get paid to play in college, as Robert Morris University students can earn profits up to $19,000 a year in scholarships.

Esports aren’t just limited to college and post-high school. Some current high schoolers are currently with an official organization competing in said games. One such gamer is Justin Morales, aka Jstn, who joined NRG at the age of 14. He was the youngest to partake in the Rocket League Championship Series Grand Finals. Another noted high school player who also cashed in a whopping $3 million is Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who won the Fortnite World Cup. These guys are winning big in esports at our age, as this allows people to turn their passion into a career, which is not only enjoyable to everyone, but a fun hobby as well. Streaming services like Mixr, Twitch and YouTube Gaming have burst into this scene as well, giving gamers the ability to live-stream their gameplay. Some gamers stream just for fun, while other gamers show off their skills in games such as “Counter Strike: Global Offensive,” “Call of Duty,” “Dota 2,” “Rocket League,” the list goes on. 

Gaming can be really beneficial to high school gamers as esports presents many opportunities to earn scholarships for college and also be noticed and signed by an official organization, like NRG. Gaming also does not require you to be super athletic, thus when somebody says “Anybody can be a gamer.” It is true. As a gamer myself I will agree that esports has opened up so many opportunities for careers or even hobbies. Yes, you will face people that will look down on you, but there is a whole avenue of games to choose.