A different kind of sporting experience

Whitnie Larsen, Reporter

VIDEO games have been at a steep rise within recent years. The popular way to livestream is using the Twitch.tv website. Twitch has helped ordinary people become some of the most well-known gamers in the world. Now that people are finding out that they can make money playing video games, it’s becoming less of a joke and more of a serious competition. Six schools within the Granite School District have created an esports team, where they compete in playing various video games. Cottonwood, Hunter, Taylorsville, Skyline, and two junior high schools are competing in the Ken Garff Esports Fall Festival for the first time. This festival has participants from twenty Utah school districts. Students are put into teams of three and will play against other teams from all over the state. They played two popular games: Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. This event was live streamed on Twitch. Chris Larsen is the Director of Educational Technology for Granite School District. He is coordinating the district’s efforts for an esports team. “It’s not officially recognized [as a high school sport] yet. Right now, esports in Granite is a student-led club at the school where it is being held,” Larsen said, “there’s a chance that it will either become a sport or part of a curricular club.” To create a team at Granger, students who are interested should find a teacher to be their supervisor. Then, the adviser will reach out to Larsen at the district office. Granite can then make sure things are working and get the club connected to other organizations that are used for esports. Sergio Mederano (9) feels as if a team should be added to Granger. “I love the idea of an esports team. I wasn’t a video game person, but then I was introduced, and I started playing,” Mederano said. Battle Royale games are some of the ones that were played during the festival, and they are the exact ones that people play on their own time, too. “I like Fortnite, Rocket League, Warzone and Apex,” Mederano said. Mr. McCarl is the game development and the virtual reality teacher at Granger High School. He has helped with esports within the district before. However, there was not enough student interest to form a team in time for the Ken Garff Esports Fall Festival. “Lots of people expressed interest, but no one ever came to the meetings. There are limitations to everything we can do as well,” McCarl said. The games that are being played for the esports team are not games that kids think of when they say esports. “Some games are too violent — we can’t be playing first-person shooter games. We can play Minecraft and Smash Bros but those aren’t team games, they’re individually played.” McCarl said. To overpass these games, the district has given Granger a router to bypass websites. Lancers who are interested in esports should talk to Mr. McCarl about starting an after-school club. Students would have to organize a club themselves, but Mr. McCarl says that he would love to be the club adviser.