Esports: The Past, The Present, and The Future

As the Spring season came to an end, the Esports teams ended the season with many memories, and many highs and lows. The players this year have grown in skill and potential since the beginning of the season. Team Alpha ended the season with a 3-4 record, and Team Bravo ended with a 2-5 record. Throughout the season, both teams played against many challenging opponents, some of which unfortunately proved to be more skilled than the EHHS teams.

Evan Martinez, a freshman from Team Alpha, was a huge factor in his team’s success. Throughout the season, he has always been there for his teammates, whether it meant giving them tips to improve or simply being a motivating factor for the team. His first season playing on the EHHS Esports team was quite memorable for him. He expressed: “I feel sad because I have had so much fun in the Spring season and I’m very sad that it’s ending.” Martinez also made some comments about his team: “My team is really good. I have seen some improvements in Kayla’s [his teammate] play style and I’m very impressed because she doesn’t have much time for video games because of school.” He also commented on Dominic Roberts [his other teammate], who will be graduating this year: “He’s been in this club since day one, and Kayla, Mr. A. Gardner [the Esports coach], and myself will miss him very much”.

When looking back at the 4 years he’s been in the Esports club, Dominic Roberts, a senior from Team Alpha, has met new people and made new friends. Four years ago, he and some of his friends came up with the idea to create the club and asked Mr. A. Gardner to help. According to Roberts, the first year of the club “[F]un but unorganized. It mostly consisted of just a bunch of friends who already knew each other getting together after school officially to play games and such, though I don’t believe that was a bad thing at all. We had tournaments, team-building activities and we could really just do what we all enjoyed in a constructive environment.”

The second year was mostly the same thing until COVID-19 hit. Because of Covid, the club members found ways to communicate and interact with each other online, despite the challenges: “With this new limitation, the membership destabilized during this time, but we found ways to work around and keep themselves [the club members] occupied while locked indoors for the majority of the year.” Because the members couldn’t play games in person, they began playing online games like CSGO, Fortnite, and many others, “[W]hich really allowed us to go all out and work together in the comfort of our own homes.”

After returning to school in the 2020-2021 school year, club membership was low due to virtual learning and no late bus, which many students utilized in years past. Despite the lack of members, there were still enough students to form EHHS’s first official Esports team. The players were signed up through a company called PlayVS, which allowed them to compete with other schools around Connecticut. Since the team was new to the league, they didn’t have much experience and were still learning the basics. Dominic explained, “Mr. Gardner really helped us in recognizing what we had to do and essentially showing the newly built teams for Rocket League what we had to do to efficiently work together. We played then and didn’t do as well because we were inexperienced.” He further explained, “Our communication, teamwork, and just general reading of each other before, during, and after the games were one of the best parts.”

Mr. A. Gardner has also seen great growth in the players’ skills. When compared to the Fall 2021 season, the Esports program itself has grown in several ways: “The performance of our Esports players has grown exponentially. The Fall 2021 season saw our team lacking basic communication skills and struggling to participate consistently. For the Spring 2022 season, we not only added new players to our rosters but added an entire second team.” Though the Esports program is still young, they were able to play against other schools that have been in the Esports scene for much longer: “We competed against schools and academies that have had well-established esports programs and were able to compete on their level."

Both teams have learned several things this season and sorted out what they need to work on during the offseason. According to Mr. Gardner, the main thing that needs to be worked on is communication: “Consistent communication that is both meaningful and effective will be our number one priority moving forward. We need to strengthen this skill not just during our matches but in the off-season as well so that we maintain a strong relationship between players as each of them depends on one another.” He continues, “There’s still work to be done, but I am pleased with the progress with our young teams.”

Mr. Gardner and the current club members are hoping that there will be new members next year that can help grow the program. After all the wins, losses, and memories made this season, the Esports teams are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for them. Congratulations to both Esports teams for a successful season, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll achieve next year during the 2022-2023 school year.