A League of Their Own

Melissa Kassens, Staff Reporter

Lakeland is host to a 3,000 square foot eSports arena featuring eight gaming stations, a lounge area, custom gaming chairs, six consoles, Logitech gaming keyboard and mouse and more.  The eSports community at Lakeland offers a co-ed team that is a part of the National Associate of Collegiate Esports (NACE). Esports stands for electronic sports and has gained attention worldwide over the last several years. This is an organized sport that is played on a multiplayer level that includes competitions. These competitions can be played either individually or as a team. Lakeland’s eSports compete in games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Madden, Rocket League, and more. Lakeland eSports students, which is led by head coach Ahman Green, in collaboration with the Buck’s Gaming staff, meet to learn from other professional gamers, discuss gameplay, watch film, and talk about strategy.  

Esports Muskies like Christian Yang, whose game of choice is Rocket League, participated in the eSports program at his high school. With their high school teams record of being undefeated and a game record of 27-2, Green reached out and recruited Yang, Ethan Jacquart and Nicholas Sorensen to play for Lakeland. Yang said, “My experience in eSports has been challenging, the thing with sports is that you can see very plainly where you stand compared to others. What I mean by this is, there is a global ranking system for every single eSport game. So, when you see your rank, you compare yourself to everyone. Which can be very daunting as you see how many other people are better than you. But it is also a motivator because you can see how close you are to the top in the game you play.” 

This sport is different from common sports such as football, soccer, or volleyball with eSports easier to set up scrimmages and is easy for audiences to watch because of the live streams offered. Another benefit of eSports is that it is an all-inclusive sport because of its accessibility to all. There are no physical restrictions and no advantages, just mental discipline. Yang said, “Everyone has an even playing field and the only way you can win, is just by out playing your opposition.” Students competing can win prizes such as money and scholarships. 

Lakeland’s eSports has had a partnership with Buck’s Gaming that allows live streams to be viewed by all. The eSports facility at Lakeland is open to students, faculty, and staff on Saturdays from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. with a fee of $5 for two and a half hours or $10 for five hours of gaming. Muskie’s who are interested in being recruited should visit Lakeland.edu/esports and complete the student-athlete questionnaire.