With the addition of an Esports team, Meridian High School students now have a new afterschool activity.
Esports involves video games played on computers.
The idea for the team was pitched by a group of students and had to be approved by the district’s school board before the team was established.
The students practice three or four times a week at Ross Collins Career and Technical Center, playing League of Legends and Rocket League.
League of Legends is a five-on-five game, in which one team is trying to capture the other team’s target, while Rocket League involves a player trying to knock down a ball while driving a car.
MHS senior Henry Zheng wasn’t sure the district would approve the team, because the school is known for its athletic programs.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted,” the 17-year-old said. “I pitched the idea, but I was seeing if the board would pass it. You have to get approved for these types of things.”
MHS sophomore Merritt Alvarez, who has an athlete’s build, said people are surprised he’s on the Esports team.
“You expect me to play football or something,” said the 15-year-old, who considers Esports a real sport.
“I would consider it a sport because people are competing in actual leagues that are competing for money,” he said.
Alvarez hopes that with the team’s success, more students might consider joining the team.
Charles Wilson, a computer technician with a district, said that during the first sign up, more than 40 kids wanted to join. The second time around, tryouts had to be held because of the interest.
“We have over 100 kids sign up just to play Fortnite,” he said. “That is one thing I wasn’t ready for.”
In addition to playing video games, students learn computer maintenance skills, Wilson said. The school may offer Esports as a class in the future, he said.
“Next year we are hoping to do it during a school period, so we can offer it more people,” he said.