TIPTON, Ind. (WISH) — This fall, some Indiana students will help launch the first season of high school esports in the state.
Fourteen schools statewide will be a part of the online action.
Indiana High School Esports Network (IHSEN) is the governing organization of the high school competition, founded by two teachers: John Robertson, who teaches at Tipton High School, and Nate Thompson, who teaches at Portage High School.
“We’ve been wanting to do it for a while because esports is awesome, and I think it’s a great way to get kids involved who maybe can’t play traditional sports,” Robertson said.
Teams from across the state have signed up to participate in the fall opening season, competing in six titles, including Super Smash Brothers, Rocket League and Overwatch.
The opening season will have six weeks of play and will be followed by a championship tournament.
The team at Tipton High School holds practice in their own esports lab inside the school, where coaches, including geometry teacher Harrison Willman, make sure they reach their full gaming potential.
Organizers say esports, now a billion-dollar industry, lets students gain experience with the variety of connected careers and gives them a head start going forward.
“I’m ecstatic because when I was in school you kind of got made fun of if you were a gamer and these guys are being celebrated,” Robertson said. “We’ve got a whole student section coming out to cheer for them in their first game.”
They believe benefits don’t only come in the form of future jobs and experience. Students learn the same soft skills from esports that are part of traditional sports: teamwork, communication, creating and executing a plan, and adapting on the fly.
“I love being able to get together with my team, some of whom I’d never really interacted with before, and work together to win! It’s really just a lot of fun,” Karly Cruzan, a junior at Tipton High School, said.
Click here to stream the competition live when Tipton High School hosts Carmel High School on Oct. 1 in their first game.