Charlotte High Students at Charlotte High School are now able to get varsity letters by engaging in video games. It is the athletics department that has now added Esports as a sport that is officially sanctioned.
“We’re excited to be able to offer this opportunity to so many students,” said R.J. Guizzetti, the director of youth sports and athletics for Charlotte Public Schools. “We have about 16 students right now in the fall season of Esports and we will have about 15 or 16 more in the spring we expect.”
Teachers Mike Baker, who is now the head coach, established an online game club with students during this school’s 2017-2018 academic year.
The team grew rapidly over the next two years. Two years after,, they were a part of to the Michigan High School Esports Federation and began playing with other high schools.
They were third on the field of Overwatch and fourth place in Super Smash Bros Ultimate in the state championship.
It’s now an official sport for high school students, Baker said he’s excited to see the team grow.
“I think it’s a great way to get kids involved that aren’t necessarily in a traditional academic or athletic path,” Baker explained.
Colin Grey is a senior at Charlotte High School and a part of Charlotte High School’s Esports team. He explained that they began their new season in the last week.
“The league is going to be interesting this year. It’s likely to be a great year for all schools throughout the year and our school in particular. Since I’m sure we’ve got an extremely strong team from my perspective.”
Grey said that playing video games is a way of escaping.
“You can play like switch games or anything like on a computer and you can just like completely zone away from anything that’s happening outside of the real world and just have fun,” he said.
The practice is held twice per week during school hours and students are required to test to make the squad. In the fall, students compete in the soccer game played by vehicles Rocket League and the first-person shooter game Valiant.
“Both of them are team games the require people to work together as a team to complete a task,” Baker stated. “And that’s why they’re two sports we’re taking part in. We like to focus on the team aspect of sports, as opposed to the individual games.”
Baker claimed that colleges are who are calling to inquire whether they have senior students who want to attend school and play video games.
“Last year, we registered our first student. He actually went to college and was awarded an award to play the game Overwatch and went to Albion University, they gave him an opportunity to play the game.”
A number of Michigan universities and colleges have teams of varsity Esports teams, such as Michigan Tech, Alma College and Siena Heights University.