The video game is added to the list of sportsmen
Parents in the Huron Valley School District should think twice the next time they tell their kids to stop playing video games and do something worthwhile.
The game came to high schools in Milford and Lakeland as an official varsity sport this year for the first time. The gaming industry is booming and could one day provide opportunities for students.
“This is open to all students,” said Thomas Wagner, math teacher and MHS eSports coach. “Some students are not classic football, basketball, baseball or volleyball players.”
Darren Kehoe, Lakeland’s game coach, said the sport provides opportunities for students who don’t or physically can’t play a sport due to injury or other reason. But often they want to participate, said Kehoe, a professor of accounting and economics.
“Gaming is a multi-billion dollar a year business,” he added. “It’s also a professional career where you can make money doing it.”
Kehoe said there had been talk that an eSports course could be offered at Lakeland in a year or two. Lakeland students, on an email blast, will learn more about how to get involved in the sport at the start of the year.
“It’s a fresh start,” Kehoe said. “It’s going to be a learning year.”
Close to the house
The games will be played primarily in students’ schools and they will compete online. If the opposing team is close enough, they can go to those schools, Wagner said.
“I’m very excited about this,” Wagner said. “I’ve been a player all my life and I’m happy to put it to good use.”
It turns out that Wagner started an eSports program at a private school where he used to work. The word got around.
“The key fitted into the hole and it was a good thing all around,” he said.
MHS administrators have been considering adding eSports for a few years, explained Jim Marszalek, MHS sports director.
“There’s a growing interest in esports and it seemed like the perfect time for us to start,” Marszalek said. “There are plenty of opportunities at the college level for these students to play and get scholarships.”
think about it
Todd Miller, athletic director of Lakeland, said esports creates another avenue for students to consider.
“They’ll be part of a team and learn how to be part of a team,” Miller said. “I can’t wait to see how it takes off. This is the first year and we will learn a lot about how to improve it. I look forward to making it succeed.
What do eSports promoters say to parents who are concerned that their child is spending too much time with the controllers in their hands?
“I always say, ‘Everything in moderation,'” Wagner said.
After Wagner announced last spring that eSports was coming to MHS, some students wanted to know how to prepare. They were shocked when he told them to practice.
“They can tell their parents they’re doing their summer homework,” Wager said.
check it out
Students from eSports teams will play Valorant, Super Smash Bros. and Legends. Both high schools will be part of the Michigan High School eSports Federation. They will be part of about 60 schools, including Northville, Walled Lake and Catholic Central High Schools, which are also involved in MiHSEF, Wagner said.
Anyone interested in being considered for esports at MHS should stop by the school computer lab beginning at 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday after the school year begins. The team members are student-athletes and must maintain their grades, Wagner added.
“It’s the students first and the athletes second,” Wagner said. “If you like video games, come check it out.”