Some college sports may have hit the pause button due to the pandemic, but Esports continues to the next level.
SUNY Broome has recently joined the ranks of junior colleges who have established Esports programs for full-time students allowing them to stay connected during the pandemic through the growing popularity of competitive on-line gaming.
Esports, also known as electronic sports, is a form of sport competition using video games. Esports often involves organized, multiplayer video game competitions between individuals or as teams.
“Esports had become a hot topic nationwide, and there were plenty of discussions about having a team under SUNY Broome Athletics,” says Brett Carter, Director of Athletics. It was soon after that the Athletics department decided to team up with the IT department to discuss what an Esports team at SUNY Broome would look like. “The largest challenge for us in Athletics was going to be the technology required to support an active team,” explains Carter, “but, having the support of both Fermin Romero in the Technology Services department, and the administration made the decision to move forward a fairly easy one.”
Now more than ever, college campuses are looking to increase engagement and fellowship between students. The social and entertainment components of Esports create opportunities for students to connect in new and innovative ways such as on-line tournaments and streamed events.
“From the first time I read about Esports, I knew it was something we could bring to campus,” said Fermin Romero, Assistant Director in Technology Services. “Esports is not only special because it has the potential to reach a different cohort of students, such as students who may not have considered being a part of campus athletics before Esports. It also presents a huge opportunity for our athletes to hone leadership, teamwork, planning, and problem-solving skills in a completely new and unique learning environment.”
“A lot of people have the initial impression that Esports and playing video games isn’t a real sport, but once they see what goes into it, they realize there’s a lot more to it,” says Nigel Deakin, head coach for the Esports team at SUNY Broome. “It takes an extreme amount of dedication, coordination, communication, team building, and leadership skills if you want to be successful.”
Associate Coach Jeremy Isabella says, “The season is going well. We feel like we have gotten off to a strong start, and the team is improving steadily with each practice. We practice remotely due to COVID, and we plan to continue to work hard and improve for the remainder of the season and bring our best effort on game days. We had a good amount of interest this semester from both returning players and many new players. With this being only our first season competing in the NJCAA, we expect more interest to grow in the coming seasons.”
The Esports team at SUNY Broome currently consists of four varsity level men and women’s teams who practice together four nights a week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The teams also compete against other SUNY Colleges in scheduled tournaments.
SUNY Broome’s Esports league offers gameplay in “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “Fortnite,” “Overwatch,” “League of Legends,” “Rocket League” and “Madden.”
What do students think of Esports at SUNY Broome?
“I’ve always wanted to be on an Esports team,” says Thomas Nicosia, a student in the Computer Technology program, “I want to see how my skills compare to other students. My experience so far has been great! I am looking forward to seeing how far we can go in the season and what new things I can learn from being a part of this team!”
“Esports at SUNY Broome is a great environment where we all help each other to improve our skills,” says SUNY Broome student Quentin Riedman. “I’m looking forward to the rest of our season.”
“I am grateful to the Athletics department and Administration for their support of the Esports program and the opportunity to coach,” says Jeremy. “The COVID crisis has made this a challenging year for everyone, and being part of something positive like Esports at SUNY Broome has been a blessing. And, one more thing – GO HORNETS!”
Interested in Esports but want a more casual experience? Student Activities offers a club option for students who want to engage in Esports but are looking for more of a recreational involvement with less pressure to maintain a varsity team’s training requirements and academic demands.
Tags: Computer Technology AAS