By John Murphy, College Relations
CHADRON – A student-driven initiative to start an eSports club at Chadron State College is functioning as a support group during social distancing due to the coronavirus, according to co-adviser Stephanie Alfred. Although the group of about 18 has not met face-to-face this semester, they are chatting online, sharing humorous memes, and playing games.
“Many of our students are focusing on their studies since converting to online (March 23) and I am most certainly giving them the space and time they need to adjust to this new way of learning,” Alfred said.
Also known as electronic sports, eSports is a form of competition using video games. While the number of potential games for eSports is large, the Eagle eSports club has shown interest in an Overwatch, Apex Legends, and League of Legends.
“The great thing about video games is you don’t always need a space to practice because it’s all virtual,” Alfred said. “There are so many different games available and that gives more opportunities to students to find their spot to shine as a competitor. Students really wanted to see a dedicated club that would foster the spirt of competition and form a community around video games.”
The discussion of an eSports club has been taking place for a couple years, according to Chris McCarthy, Business professor and club co-adviser.
“When I taught here a few years ago, I had some brief discussions with our administration about the idea of possibly starting an eSports club or team,” he said. “They seemed interested and other students seemed quite keen about the idea.”
McCarthy left Chadron for two years before returning in August, when he found the Eagle eSports club was already underway.
“I found out Stephanie was the adviser of the club and scheduled a meeting with her and the students already involved,” McCarthy said. “Now we both co-sponsor the club with plans to see how things go this year and then forming an official eSports team for the 2021-22 academic year.”
While the Eagle eSports club has submitted the required paperwork, it hasn’t officially been named a club yet. Alfred said the club hopes to have funding for the next budget cycle. Once the club is formally recognized, McCarthy says the chance to recruit more students will expand.
“Having an Eagle eSport club will create space for all types of students: those who are just looking for more friends to play against but aren’t looking to play competitively as well as those who are hoping to hone their skills and play at higher and more difficult levels,” McCarthy said.