ND students praise new eSports program

Good Day Dakota

Mandan High School is one of 14 schools in the state to take up eSports and their first-ever season is about to come to an end.

The new eSports teams in our state have caused a bit of controversy. There are many people who believe this isn’t a sport and a waste of school money, but others say it gives students an opportunity to be part of a team.

KX talked to some of the students of the Mandan eSports team members to see how its been since it first started.

Sean Seefeld is one of the 16 students who are apart of the Mandan High school eSports Team. He won’t argue with anyone about the aspect of eSports not being physical.

Seefeld says, “It brings the mental side to a sport and you have to work as a team especially in Rocket League and that’s why I would say it is a sport.”

Seefeld is not only an eSports athlete but plays golf competitively as well. The eSports program at Mandan has a mixture of students from all backgrounds whether they be athletic or not.

eSports member Adam Bitz says, “You have to practice and you have to communicate and you have to make sure you are on the same page as your teammates and you just can’t take it lightly if you want to do well.”

Garrett Joyce adds, “Communication is key in this and it’s a lot more competitive. Football is very competitive and eSports is a whole different realm.”

The eSports program has given many of the students an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone.

“I would have never talked to the guy ever if it wasn’t for this,” says Seefeld. “And I would say yes it has opened my gates to meeting new people that I would not have otherwise talked too.”

The school is ranked in the top 9 of all teams in their division. They hold 1st, 3rd, and 9th out of 37 teams for Rocket League. They are playing teams from all around the country.

Head coach Stephen Kessler says he’s been happy with their first season so far and the progress they have made, and hopes it will continue to grow.

“One of the biggest things with the feedback is the students wanting to do more,” says Kessler. “I have made it clear to them that eSports isn’t here to hinder them and its something for them to enjoy and compete and like I said they have that flexibility to come home compete and prove they are putting in that practice.”

If you are still one of those people that aren’t taking this up-and-coming sport seriously the students say to think again.

“It brings the social skills to it,” says Seefeld. “It may not seem like it but everyone in that room is talking all the time whether it’s to each other or their teammates.”

Bitz adds, “League of Legends got more views than the Superbowl this year so its something they can choose not to take seriously but they should.

Kessler tells KX the other coaches have been supportive of the eSports program and have even work around athletes’ schedules.

The season will officially end on December 19th and if they qualify for state the championship will be January 30th.

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