Photo Courtesy of Sower Staff
By Hannah Birtell
At the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic school year, Esports will be offered for student athletes to compete in at Concordia.
Over the last few years, Esports has become a growing industry and a growing interest for college and high school students. While Concordia does offer a large variety of athletic programs and other extracurricular options, there are many students who are not involved in anything. Concordia decided to create an Esports team to attract students who would not be involved in any of the traditionally offered extracurriculars.
Ryan Hinds from Elm Creek, NE, has been brought on board to coach the newly formed Esports team. Prior to accepting the coaching job here, Hinds was a mechanical engineer who volunteered his time to create an Esports team at Elm Creek high school. What started in 2017 as three schools playing video games together turned into a whole association of Nebraska schools all playing Esports by 2019. Now, as Concordia’s coach, he can’t wait to get started coaching.
“I’m really just looking forward to getting a team together,” said Hinds. “That’s the fun part. I’ve already met a whole bunch of students that are interested in being part of the team.”
Concordia’s Esport team will compete in four games: Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, and possibly Super Smash Bros.
“We are going to recruit and hopefully have students that are experts in this game and in this game and in this game,” said Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Marcus Gubanyi. “We are going to have students who are only good at one game. It doesn’t really matter if you are only good at one game or good at multiple, you can still be a part of the Esports team.”
Part of preparing for the Esport team is creating a facility for them to play in. The team will be practicing and competing in the THOM 004 computer lab. New computers that can handle the intense graphics of games like Overwatch will be brought in as well as TVs and couches for the team to use in practice and competition.
The team will be competing against other colleges in the area such as UNL, Midland, and other area schools. When they do begin competing, Coach Hinds hopes to have several ways that students can watch the team compete.
“We’re hoping to have a Twitch page, and everything set up for our team so you can watch online” said Hinds. “Hopefully, our arena will also have an area where people can watch the replays on TVs of what is going on, but there will be a way for people to watch in person to cheer us on as well as online.” Students can look for the Esports team to begin practicing and competing next fall, and if you are interested in being a part of the team, you can email Hinds at firstname.lastname@example.org.