By Garrett Collins
Sports can have the power to do so many things. For example during hurricane Katrina, a huge rallying point for the people of New Orleans was the Saints, who won the Super Bowl that year. As recently as 2020, during the pandemic, the whole world rallied around sports coming back, especially the NBAwhich took strides to help bring awareness to multiple social issues. One sport is now bringing together another community that until recently has not been as popular. Esports has been a growing trend within the last decade and in the SUNY System, that trend has been seen as well. According to a release from SUNY there has been a growth from 2,077 to 2,200 people in the SUNY system in just one season. The growth of Esports is something that can not be denied, as 81% of the people who joined Esports said they would recommend it to a friend.
The Plattsburgh State E-Sports team is a club on campus and they compete in tournaments in both the spring and the fall semesters. They compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which is a conference that holds NCAA teams in division I, division II and division III across 15 different sports. Plattsburgh looks to compete against Champlain College and University of Vermont. The games that the athletes compete in is a wide range from sports games like Madden or FIFA or strategy games like Overwatch and League of Legends.
Nick Putney, a senior biochemistry major, is the current president of the club and has been a long-standing leader. The team was previously overseen by the Student Association.
“It’s just a different structure, [there are] pros and cons,” Putney said. “Under the SA, we had more weekly meetings. The meetings were more activity based, whernow it’s more team based.”
On the Esports team in Plattsburgh, athletes are free to compete on as many teams. Expeditionary studies sophomore Ryan Such Competes on three teams; the Valorant, Halo and League of Legends.
Most matches for games that aren’t sports games, Excluding Rocket League, Madden, FIFA, are centered around grabbing and holding an objective.
“A lot of teamwork is involved,” Such said.
PJ, a sophomore on the Super Smash Brothers said a lot of the practices are simulations of events that the team is going to be competing in.
“We split off into groups and pair up with people, who we know can help us with specific things we struggle with in our game,” PJ said.
The growth and history of Esports has a lot to do with the Nintendo game Super Smash Brothers. These tournaments have garnered attention from viewers around the globe.
“I have here and there,” PJ said.
Teams usually have rolls that need to be filled. Obviously there’s the leader and the captain of the team. Then there’s the coaches and the people on the team that make sure they are ready to compete. The unsung hero on a team is someone that maybe doesn’t get the attention they deserve. For the Plattsburgh State E-Sports team that unsung hero Emily Morenda, a sophomore robotics and computer science major, does not compete, per say, but she helps PJ with the Smash Bros team and operates as a vice president.
“I don’t play on any of the teams, I just help set up the events,” Morenda said. “I also host game night that goes on every other Saturday.”
Morendo doesn’t compete because she is busy in school but she helps out any way she can.
“I would join a team, but I am incredibly busy with my double major, but I also don’t play games like that hardcore like these guys,” Morendo said.
Since these four have joined, they have all seen an uptick in new players joining the team and they are hoping to see that trend continue.
“We started fall 2021 with maybe 140 members,” Putney said. “Now they are at almost 300 people, and we’ve gone from 20 official members to almost 70.”
The Plattsburgh Esports team meets every Saturday at 5 p.m in the Macdonough basement at the lounge. For more information, join the discord for the team.