Esports club makes their autumn debut

Sydney PeacockContributor

It all started when Esports president Miles Bagoly and vice president Brian Harner were playing the popular game “Rocket League.” After seeing banners with “esports” advertised, Bagoly and Harner said they realized there were teams of professionals all going head-to-head in an online video game competition. From there, the idea of forming their own esports team began, and was eventually put into action at the university.

On Sept. 20, the Student Government Association voted to approve the esports
club as an official organization on the university’s campus.

Esports involves the world of competitive online gaming, pitting different teams against each other in order to accomplish a similar goal, typically in tournament-style matches. With the formation of the ‘Collegiate Star League’ in 2009, a site which allows North American college esports teams to enlist in tournaments and play against other schools, college teams became more commonplace.

With the continuing growth in esports popularity, Bagoly and Harner, ultimately decided to switch from a solely “Rocket League” focused club to an all encompassing esports club.

Now, the club participates in roughly fifteen different games, and has a set of five completed teams. “Rocket League,” “Counterstrike,” “Call of Duty,” “League of Legends,” “Overwatch” and “Super Smash Bros.” are some of the major titles the club is broadcasting. The club claims it has switched their emphasis from “Rocket League” over to “Super Smash Bros.”

“We recently found out that [Super Smash Bros.] is extremely popular and competitive,” said Harner. “People get really excited about it.”

Because of the game’s popularity, the club was hoping to host a “Super Smash Bros.” tournament in the near future. The event would be open to the university for anyone to demonstrate their skills.

Although the esports club does not currently have its own space, Bagoly and Harner said they hope to obtain one within the next year.

The Central Connecticut State University’s esports team was granted a space and gaming equipment by their school, the club hopes something similar could happen here at Southern.

Fancy facilities or not, Bagoly said he was positive Central “doesn’t have the same physical drive that we at Southern have,” which gives Southern the upperhand.

For now, Bagoly and Harner said they’re just looking forward to seeing where this club could be headed.

“A lot of people have a lot of drive and a lot of confidence,” said Bagoly, “I’m really excited to see what they do.”

Southern’s Esports team has until Oct. 13 to register teams on Collegiate Star League, but it is also looking for casual players.

Both Bagoly and Harner said they were impressed with the number of students interested in the competitive esports teams. According to Bagoly, at the Student Involvement Fair in September, esports reportedly received 40 signatures within a half hour.

When first hearing about the club, special education major Michael Chelgren, a freshman, said he felt the club would introduce more opportunity, “for those looking for something that more suits their style.”

Bagoly also said there have been a lot of marginalized students that did not feel they had a place to call home in the campus community, such as being in a sorority or involved with sports and other clubs.

He said he believes that the club might be one of the “final steps to making everyone feel included.”

Excited for what the year holds, Bagoly and Harner said they want to welcome all new members.

“We always tell people,” said Bagoly, “if you can get enough people to have a team, we will support you all the way.”

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