ESports Revolution

An Inside Look On the Fastest Growing Sport In The School


An inside look on the fastest growing sport in the school.

Diego Branda | Reporter   Carter Gourley | Reporter


There’s a huge crowd roaring in front of you. You’re trembling with fear and excitement, trying to maintain your composure. There’s 60 seconds left on the clock, you can hear the dramatic sounds of the game ending music playing. The time is now, you and your team position yourselves for the final push. The clock ticks down, 3.. 2.. 1!

Without an existing team until just a couple years ago, eSports at Hickman has seemingly exploded, growing in popularity exponentially year in and year out. It’s growth has even prompted the “Gaming Crib,” a whole room devoted to the club alone.

The Gaming Crib, which can be located next to the media center, has helped the growth of eSports at Hickman considerably, as the new addition and investment into the Gaming community at Hickman symbolizes the growth of the community and the stability of the gaming club moving forward. The grant for the new practice room was $8,500, which is evidence of the room being a huge investment into the gaming community at Hickman.

Mr. Gragnani, the school principal, elaborates on what the Gaming Crib means to the school and what opportunities it provides for students.

“The gaming industry is larger than the movie and music industries combined, which means there are career opportunities in marketing, human resources, graphic design, broadcasting, contract law, just to name a few,” he states, “there are a number of colleges offering scholarships to E-Sport athletes, [so] hopefully by engaging our students in their interests, we can them turn [their interests] into a career.”

Andrew Klusmeyer, a senior at Hickman and member of the eSports team, credits the opportunity CPS gives gamers for the growth of competitive gaming locally, stating that “we are lucky enough that CPS has given us the opportunity of competing in something we all love.”

ESports is short for Electronic Sports. According to the New York Times, it eclipsed a global viewing of 380 million fans by the end of last year, and has only grown since. Hundreds of tournaments are held worldwide on the local, state, national, and even global levels, some with a winning pot of millions. Some of the more familiar tournaments include the games League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, CS:GO, and Rocket League; however, dozens of game titles are included in the competitive gaming community.

Just like it is globally, eSports is achieving immense growth locally, especially at Hickman High School, as the four teams representing the Kewpies this year has grown from just two teams last year.

Each high school team in town runs under the same system and competes at the same location, the Ukatsu Center. Ukatsu is an organization that hosts local tournaments at the recreational and competitive level (in this case, competitive). As stated earlier, Hickman eSports is comprised of four teams, two affiliated with Overwatch, two affiliated with League of Legends. Each game is intense, heavily involve strategy, as well as takes consistency and hard work in order to compete successfully at a high level.

“Both League of Legends and Overwatch are a 6v6 team game,” Mr. Bechtel, the club sponsor, says, “The objective of League of Legends is to destroy your enemies base, while the two objectives of Overwatch are to either capture and hold the objective or escort a payload to the other side of the map.”

This is also a team with recent success, who according to Klusmeyer won the city-wide League of Legends Championship just last year.

Klusmeyer is entering his 3rd year in the League of Legends club and his 2nd year on the eSports team, and says his biggest concern is being a team player.

“I like to be a team player whenever possible, which can usually be seen in previous matches,” he says.

Part of being a team player is giving advice to some of the younger gamers who are new to the competitive gaming community. Even though he doesn’t consider himself a veteran, Klusmeyer, who was a quick and impressive learner when he first arrived on the scene, is always there to give advice to newcomers.

“Firstly, you need to be open to new ideas,” he states, “this is critical for game play, as the more you are capable of, the less predictable you are.”

Communication is one of the topics hit on the most, as it’s essential to all around team success. 

“You want to work on communication as much as possible. You need to know what your teammates are doing even if they aren’t talking,” Klusmeyer adds.

The freshmen, some of which are brand new to the scene, are nervous yet ready to get the season underway. 

The learning aspect is the most important aspect of gaming. Whether it be learning strategy, communication, or simply more about the game, the newcomers are constantly taking notes from the team captains in an attempt to improve their sense of competitive gaming. 

Looking ahead, eSports at Hickman and around the city hope to continue its growth and encourage anyone who has a passion for gaming to consider joining. Mr Becktal said that he is “astounded by the growth of esports and hopes to see it continue to grow.”