By Stephen Pravato
As a new freshman at St. Joseph’s College, I am finding the myriad of opportunities and requirements a lot to take in at times. We all were told by older friends, cousins or siblings that college demands your complete attention and your entire arsenal of capability. I concur with that assessment.
Glancing at the variety of clubs and organizations available brings about another quandary. While there are many interesting and desirable clubs deserving of our time and participation, there seems to be one type of club missing from the landscape of choices. E-sports, or competitive gaming, is absent from the possibilities here. Hofstra, Stony Brook, Suffolk County Community College, and almost all other institutions have this option available. Stony Brook is hosting a huge tournament soon. E-sports have become, for this generation, a way to decompress, let out tension, while competing with technique and agility of thought and hand. ESPN actually broadcasts tournaments live in prime time. A major tournament called Evolution or “Evo” for short, was also featured on Disney XD. A live streaming service called “Twitch” showcases many games with audiences of thousands for each game. These tournaments draw in massive crowds too. Celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal back esports — he even owns a team!
Having a club at school allows the gaming community an opportunity to hone their mental acuity and speed, and forces the competitor to make split second decisions that affect many possibilities of outcome; cause and effect. People even study some games frame by frame and write notes. This encourages a connection for people who are into these games, but haven’t had anywhere to display their genuine enjoyment yet.
Competitive video games teach sportsmanship, team-player qualities, self-discipline and how to handle losing. It is an effective way to form friendships and goes beyond all social barriers that sometimes keep people apart. It also affords the player the opportunity to tune out temporarily from the stresses and anxiety of the day. After all, when you are making microsecond decisions, having to understand various components and fundamentals, you have no room to contemplate your presently pending array of problems. You can temporarily escape for the moment into a mirage of bliss.
There are tournaments occurring all over college campuses, in other venues — large and small — in just about any community on Long Island, and in every state and almost every country. In fact, players can connect online with others from Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and almost any country you can imagine. These are a dedicated group of people that would love representation.
If anyone reading this article is interested in participation, people are needed to step up and assist this new club. Games such as Super Smash Bros, Hearthstone, and CSGO as well possibly more, can be featured if enough demand is present. Separate Facebook groups can be made for the games featured at the club. If you want this club to be a reality, ask the student life office to show support.