By Sarah Hall
Sports news at Sewanee has been quiet for too long. Though most teams continue practicing in hopes that their sport will resume in the spring, the lack of competition seems to hang drearily over Sewanee, and students reminisce about the days when they could cheer for their favorite teams in the stands. What many of these students do not realize is that one fall sport remains: Esports.
Though Esports have been around for quite a while, Sewanee’s very own Esports team did not really begin until this year. Sewanee’s Esports team is run by founding co-leaders and brothers Jack McCall and Davis McCall. The two had been playing video games and participating in tournaments for years, but it was not until McCall realized there were other students at Sewanee who had an interest in tournaments that he got in contact with the Gaming Club and made the leap to create the first Esports team at Sewanee.
“We wanted to become the backbone for the team and become one of the many ways that people on campus can reach out into the digital community,” said Krystyna Lugo, president of the Gaming Club.
The Esports team participates in tournaments almost every weekend, focusing mostly on League of Legends tournaments, with occasional participation in Super Smash Bros. tournaments. The team is currently in the top 10% of League of Legends players. In preparation for these tournaments, the team practices separately throughout the week as well as together in a rigorous, weekly practice. “On Friday we practice for four or five hours usually,” said McCall.
In the future, the team would like to gain more members who play a wider range of games so they can participate in different kinds of tournaments. When the coronavirus poses less of a threat, the team will be attending travel tournaments such as the Atlanta DreamHack tournament. For now though, they will be sticking to home base, participating in their own weekend League of Legends tournaments and hopefully hosting Smash tournaments in the near future for people outside of the team to be able to participate in the fun. In addition to hosting those events, interested students can also watch the team on their Twitch stream at twitch.tv/sewanee_esports.
“Some of our friends from back in Tallahassee that will spectate our games from in-game and they will actually cast it like a sports announcer would and do play-by-play, talk about what’s going on while they watch both teams play,” said McCall.
In the current circumstances with a handfull of students studying from home, the Esports team offers a competitive activity in which anyone anywhere can participate. For many remote students, it can be difficult to stay involved with the campus organizations they are used to, but the Esports team offers an accessible alternative as their sport of choice is an activity created exclusively for online platforms.
McCall explains the draw of the Esports team for all students, both on campus and remote: “These kids can be part of a team. It’s really like a college experience for them. Like with me, I’m going to remember being on this team for the rest of my life and that I got to play collegiate League of Legends.”