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Pony Express News

The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

The student news site of Morton East High School

Pony Express News

Most students unaware of esports competitive team

Eriberto Campos and Israel Angeles are playing videogames competitively.

Most students at Morton East were unaware that the school now has an esports competitive team.

According to AP Stylebook, “esports” should be spelled as “esports” without a hyphen. The term “e-sports” is outdated.

Esports, short for electronic sports, has rapidly emerged as a global phenomenon that transcends traditional notions of competitive gaming. In this digital arena, professional gamers, often with dedicated teams and sponsors, compete in video game tournaments that draw massive online audiences. Esports has not only reshaped the entertainment landscape but has also become a legitimate career path for skilled players, coaches, and organizers. With its ever-expanding audience, lucrative prize pools, and a growing ecosystem of leagues and events, esports continues to break new ground, displaying the fusion of technology, skill, and entertainment in the 21st century.

In a survey of 70 students, 29 indicated they did not know what esports are or that Morton had an esports team. 15 students were aware of esports, 4 knew about esports but were unaware of Morton’s team, and 22 students were familiar with esports but didn’t know that Morton had a team. How did this club get started?

“In the fall of 2019, a meeting took place within the West Suburban Conference to discuss the implementation of an esports program. While groundwork was laid to establish this program, the pandemic pushed esports to the backburner for many schools. After numerous conversations with assistant principals from Morton East and West, our esports team officially began last school year in the Fall of 2022,” said Mr. Dalton Elkins.

  1. Who initiated this club?

“I’ve been working on establishing a club like this since 2016. I was approached by the assistant principals, Mr. Dugan from West, and Ms. Rzadzki from East, to start this club. Shortly after, I began forming the team, and Coach Stephen Swon from West started working with students from West. This year, I began working with Coach Blake Lindholm here at East. Many different staff members played a role in helping our team get started,” Mr. Elkins said.

Fernando Arratia also shared his thoughts on esports.

“I have a basic understanding of what it’s about. I know it revolves around video games, and tournaments are created for specific games. I’ve watched a couple of those tournaments on YouTube a time or two,” said Fernando Arratia.

What are some types of competitions in the esports club?

“Our school participates in two major tournament circuits. PlayVS, a tournament organizer company, partnered with the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) to host Fall and Spring semester tournaments. Because PlayVS organizes the competition, we are limited in terms of which video games can be played competitively. Additionally, the types of games that can be played competitively are based on ESRB ratings,” explained Dalton Elkins.

“Last year, we competed in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament during the Fall semester and finished the regular season 4th in the state, reaching the top 8 in playoffs. Over 50 schools in Illinois participated in this tournament. Besides Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we also participated in the Overwatch 2 circuit, which included over 100 teams throughout the central time zone. We finished the regular season 36th in Overwatch 2 and 14th in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In April, there are sectionals that every Illinois high school can participate in their regional tournament. Last April, it was hosted at DePaul, and our two players finished 11th and 13th out of 36 total players. This year, sectionals will be held at a TBD location in April,” Mr Elkins added.

How many student esports athletes are on the team?

“Our numbers are somewhat restricted due to the number of team members allowed per game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate teams consist of 3 main players and 3 substitutes, whereas Overwatch 2 has 5 main players and 3 substitutes. Last year at East, we had 4 players in the Fall, and that number grew to 12 in the Spring. This year, we’ve had over 20 students from East and the Freshman Center either try out or express interest. We will then narrow our rosters down to 6 players for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and 8 players for Overwatch 2,” Mr. Elkins explained.

Do you know what esports are?

“I have a basic understanding of what esports are about. I know they revolve around video games, and tournaments are created for specific games. I’ve watched a couple of those tournaments on YouTube a time or two,” Fernando Arratia said.

Who are the most well-known esports athletes?

“I’m not familiar with any esports athletes,” replied Fernando Arratia.

Would you ever consider joining an esports clan like FaZe?

“Would I ever join a clan? If I still consistently played video games, then maybe. It would depend on the game and if I’m any good,” Fernando Arratia said.

Do you enjoy playing esports games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Rocket League, or the FIFA series?

“I like to play FIFA and Rainbow Six Siege. I’ve also played Call of Duty here and there but lost interest in the game,” Fernando Arratia said.

Esports seems like a brand-new beginning for many of its members and many other experiences coming ahead.


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    HectorOct 23, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve heard about the E-sports team in our school, but I don’t feel like joining them since I feel like I wouldn’t make a good player. I’ve heard of teams like FaZe recently about how they have lost $1.4 billion dollars in revenue after going public on the trade market. They are now bankrupt.