Esports, also known as competitive video games, have become increasingly popular in the sports world, which is why CCSD has created their own league for students 13 and older. The program officially started last fall when Chillicothe’s team competed with Esports Ohio and made it to the finals in two of the three games they played.
In the upcoming spring season, students will compete against schools across the state playing League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate on a competitive level. They will also play Fortnite and Hearthstone on a club level, which means they will not compete through Esports Ohio, but in a more casual setting instead.
Esports are more than just video games – they provide students with a huge opportunity to receive scholarships.
“The prospect of scholarships is a huge part of why we pushed this program forward,” said Brian Lewis, esports coach. “These scholarships are on par with traditional athletics, in which students can receive up to a full-ride depending on the game and college.”
Beyond potential scholarships, the program offers numerous other benefits, including social and emotional peer support. While a wide variety of students have signed up to participate in esports, much of the team does not participate in traditional sports, so this is their opportunity to be a part of a team outside of academics. Esports provides those students with an avenue to compete against each other without being held back by physical, economic or social restraints.
“Students participating in esports learn teamwork and communication firsthand, outside of a classroom environment,” said Lewis. “As most of the games are team-based and require a high degree of coordination to be competitive, students are learning valuable skills.
Additionally, some games, like League of Legends, require a lot of pre-game planning in which players use their knowledge of the characters to strategize how to best play the game. This includes determining which combinations of items will produce the most ideal stats for their character against the composition of the opposing team.
Students also learn creative problem solving through esports. Players learn the limitations and extremes of the games and are able to push their abilities and use them in ways that, in some cases, the game developers didn’t even foresee.
A new arena for the district’s esports league will be built in the new Chillicothe Athletic Center when renovations begin this summer.
For more information about the esports program, contact coach Brian Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the spring esports league, students can sign up at https://www.esportsohio.org/league/sign-up and see Mr. Lewis for a parent permission slip by Friday, February 28.