A gamer can certainly dream
By Roy Kwon
The atmosphere is riddled with a tense silence as the audience is glued to their seats in anticipation of the match’s outcome. The two teams are neck and neck, vigorously smashing their keys in hopes of attaining victory. As the final click of a mouse resounds throughout the stadium, it is immediately drowned out by the deafening roar of the crowd for their new emerging victors.
Generally, games are a controversial topic when it comes to it being considered a sport, but the new Michigan High School Athletic Association executive director, Mark Uyl, is looking to change that.
Uyl talked to high school athletic directors, coaches, and superintendents in an annual MHSAA update meeting in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The highly debated topic, which has been brought up before in the past, caused several groans among the faculty. The main question it brings up is, “Do schools really want to promote students, playing video games?”.
The chance of esports being added as an official varsity sport is definitely not zero, but a lot of discussion has to occur in order to even consider adding it to the roster of sports for all high schools in Michigan. Additionally, they would need at least 64 schools on board with the idea to make it a reality. This does not just apply to esports, but also is a requirement for all sports.
The MHSAA has all the resources needed and could implement video games as a varsity sport in all schools; however, they are currently weighing the pros and cons. The association believes that they can make a lot of profit from this, but are unsure if kill-and-shoot games are what schools should portray to the students.
Even Uyl was not completely on board with the idea at first, but mentioned that the idea was growing on him. He said that officials don’t want to encourage kids to become sedentary by playing video games, but there are benefits to adding the new sport, especially if it attracts students who do not participate in traditional sports.
“You start to see all the kids that are doing it, and all the people who are getting involved,” Uyl stated. “The growth is incredible. You look at Western Michigan. They turned an auditorium into an esports arena. Adrian College has men’s and women’s esports teams.”
In addition to the positive student response and the already existing community, the cost to implement the sport would not skyrocket through the roof.
Uyl explained, “There are minimal costs for schools. There are vendors ready to supply the hardware and the software. There’s no need for travel because competition is virtual. And it is popular. Madison Square Garden drew 20,000 spectators for an esports competition. That’s 20,000 people paying to watch other people play video games