An Unusual Sports Team Arrives at Murray

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An Unusual Sports Team Arrives at Murray

Asheby Kearns, Writer

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With news of a video game league having the same standards as any sports team at Murray, it must have shocked many. It’s not everyday one hears about a school advocating gamers. However, a school supporting a video game team isn’t as simple as it seems.
Carter Wilde, a senior and the sole leader of the Murray High schools’ Esports team. He had the passion to start an esports league as early as seventh grade. His dreams never came to fruition until this year. According to Wilde, “I really like to play video games, and watching Team Liquid [a world renowned professional gaming organization established in 2000] made me want to start one at school.”
The team isn’t immediately acknowledged as a sport this year. Wilde thinks, “it’s going to be like hockey so far, but they seem to be looking into making it like a football team.” The future of whether gaming will share the same respect as football or remain a club team like hockey is unknown.
Picking people to indulge in his passion was a difficult process. Wilde explains, “I was willing to drop all of my projects [I.T. club, filming, and his podcast] to do this. I was able to find someone else that enjoyed and cared about [the esports team] as much as I did, and that was Hunter Barney.”
Hunter Barney, also a senior and second in command, helps Wilde when it’s required. Besides being Wilde’s right hand man, he leads the Rocket League team. He’s “personally a big fan of competition (friendly)”, which makes him a good candidate for running the league.
Regarding interest in the team, Wilde believes “…we will gain more interest because it is new and more kids are growing up with a plan of playing esports, however I think because of the games we are playing, less people will join our league.” He acknowledges, “The stigma of geeks and nerds is fading, which is good because more people will go into the league.”
Wilde shared ninety-eight (98) people were interested from data collection. When the meeting occurred on December 10th, the student attendance wasn’t a surprise, but the parental attendance was. Carter “was surprised by how many adults showed up and in short notice.”
Elijah Powell, a junior and member of the Overwatch team, thought the esports team would “flop pathetically or flourish” when the new club was announced. He is optimistic about the success of the league. He finds “it creates such a unique community that doesn’t really exist anywhere” and “…likes the way it gathers people together.”
On the topic of student body presence, Wilde said, “I believe we have 2 or 3 girls and like, 40 guys.” He follows with, “Because more people are going into it, we are getting more girls, and it’s like with STEM. Also, there’s less of a stigma of nerd and geeks which is seen bad on a girl, but nowadays it’s ‘cool.’”
Heidi Wilde, a senior and Wilde’s sister, hopes the female presence will increase. Although, she considers, “… females are intimidated knowing its a male dominated area.”
While the team plays games like Rocket League, Overwatch, Fortnite, and other popular games, the esports team is also the doorway to new computer science classes. When asked about the longevity of the esports team, Wilde mentioned, “DeShazo is working really hard to make sure this [the team] is a success. Their goal is to … get more people interested in computer science.”
Wilde continues to discuss the computer science classes coming Murray’s way next year. Wilde explained, “They [either administration or the school] want to make not just consumers of games, but creators of games.” He expresses he is slightly jealous with these new additions, since he’s interested in computer science.
Another perk of the esports team are the scholarship opportunities. Hunter mentioned, “With more scholarships being offered every year, and the school funding that the club will receive next year, it will definitely make it all worthwhile.”
Colleges and universities scout for professional gamers in high school. Schools like the University of Utah and Boise State University have varsity teams. points out the University of Utah is a larger school providing scholarships for gaming.
Playing video games as a sport is more acceptable as time passes on. With this new opportunity available to Murray students, many could see their skills improving. The experience will be beneficial with friendships and schooling.
Nothing brings people together more than video games, since there’s something for everyone. Here’s to hoping the team is successful and has a long life here at Murray High.
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