By Contributing Writer Riley Kim (’24)
The Esports team is often showcased in the announcements for their incredible success during their competitions. But how many people actually know what they are, and what they do?
The Esports team isn’t just one team, it’s a collection of five teams each with their own individual game that they compete in. The games currently offered are Splatoon, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8, Hearthstone, and Rocket League. All five of the teams made the national playoffs for their game, making them one of the most successful teams for J-D this year. Despite none of the teams winning at the playoffs, Jay Lang, the head of the Esports team and J-DHS teacher, sees just getting there as a huge accomplishment. Only the top third to top quarter of all the teams playing make it to the national playoffs.
While most teams have a strict way to practice, Coach Lang, has opted for a more laid back way for students to practice their game. Lang’s expectation was that teams would practice once a week, whether it be online or with their own time. He had team captains fill out a log to show they were practicing once a week, but once the official season started, it was up to the teams whether or not they wanted to practice. The entire team was regulated through a discord server to make things easier to manage.
While currently only five games are offered, Lang hopes to add more next year, including one he has gotten request after request for; Valorant. To do this, he would have to add the team to a new league called HSCl, as the one they are currently on, PlayVersus only offers a few games. Lang hopes to dip into both leagues so that the Esports Team can play a variety of games that J-DHS’ students will enjoy and excel in.
One of the students on the team, Emma Wang, said that she’d like to see the popular game Minecraft added as a competitive game on the roster, whether it be through Player versus Player, building, or parkour. Wang also mentioned adding Valorant, even though she doesn’t play it, because her friend does and didn’t join the esports team because it wasn’t offered.
But how did this team come to exist? Lang has always been interested in creating a club like the Esports team, and last year acting J-DHS Principal Gasparini asked whether he would be interested or not. Lang agreed and then met with Lawson, current J-DHS Principal, during the summer to discuss it. Lawson was fully on board and was able to supply some Nintendo switches to Mr. Lang for use. Then, from there, they launched the club this past fall.
Lang was happy to answer that his goal is to eventually have the Esports team become a varsity sport. Maybe surprising to more traditional spectators or athletes, there now currently ample college scholarships available for esports; the only problem is that to get a scholarship the activity needs to be qualified as a sport to be eligible for it. Lang hopes to have J-DHS’ esports team added to the varsity sports list in the next two years to provide students with this amazing opportunity.
The Esports team is one of J-DHS’ newest clubs and could soon become one of J-DHS’ newest sports. Despite it being so new, it has already demonstrated major success, making it to national playoffs in its first year of being created. The Esports team is a welcome addition to the J-D extracurricular program and looks to have a promising future.