In response to the Nov. 19 editorial on the concerns of the rise of esports at colleges, I would like to explain some of the positive impacts of collegiate esports, especially at Hood College.

Gaming has been an established part of the culture at Hood. The addition of our esports team aligns with our college goals and STEM initiatives to better prepare students for a future where technology causes rapid changes in the job market. It also provides our athletics department with the ability to expand opportunities for student-athletes and connect with students who are not engaged in traditional sports.

Hood College esports supports the interests as well as values of collegiate esports gaming and the student-athletes that form its community. Hood College competes in the following games: Rocket League, Super Smash Bros., Overwatch, FIFA, Madden, Fortnite and Apex Legends.

Hood College does not and will not compete in, play or support any game with excessive violence or misogynistic themes.

Just like traditional sports, esports promotes leadership, teamwork and responsibility. In addition, it also engages the student-athletes’ critical thinking skills through self-directed learning. Practice time is limited to just a few hours a week plus scheduled competitions. Increased screen time for these student-athletes is not necessarily a bad thing when it is used to educate and inspire.

Since Hood College esports aligns under the athletics department, our student-athletes must follow all requirements as any other student-athletes, including minimum GPA, conditioning and a code of conduct. This alignment allows esports student-athletes full access to our athletic training staff for injury prevention and treatment and education for our student-athletes, parents and coaches. Coaches supervise and manage responsible game play at the Hood College Esports Arena, and the entire Hood College athletic department staff helps each student-athlete play at their highest potential.

Esports has been proven to increase retention and enrollment, and esports student-athletes have some of the highest GPAs. Just like any other sport, Esports helps keep students stay socially engaged with fellow students with similar interests in competitive gaming.

It is our goal at Hood College to enrich the students both mentally and physically. Esports provides both, while being in a structured, safe and positive environment.

Chris Leonard

head coach Esports at Hood College

(4) comments

threecents

I can see it being a club, but not a sport. This reminds me of Stephen King's "Hearts in Atlantis." The title refers to college kids who get addicted to playing hearts (the card game).

gabrielshorn2013

Game? Yes. Sport? No. Nothing against video games for those that indulge, but come on. No athleticism needed for video games. What's next? Competitive eating? Sixteen ounce curls? Lace on some running shoes and run track, or some boots and play soccer.

threecents

Boots for soccer?

gabrielshorn2013

Yep, that's what soccer players call cleats.

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