As many campus events have been canceled or postponed, athletic contests have suffered the same fate. The classroom experience has been drastically altered and the Bearkat community has had to make a lot of adjustments. One of the clubs on campus that has acclimated itself to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is the Sam Houston State University Esports Club.
Esports are sports competitions centered around video games. Competitors can participate individually or as a team in different types of genres, including multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), first-person shooter (FPS) and fighting and battle royales. Esports is an industry that rivals even some other major professional sporting events, like the 2017 League of Legends World Championship semifinals, which drew in more than 80 million viewers.
The SHSU Esports Club has implemented major changes in the way they are operating this semester, but the organization has found interesting ways to keep its members involved.
“We have decided that we will have different types of online game nights and online event nights to keep club members engaged during these troubling times,” SHSU Esports Vice President Alexandria Sylvester said.
Sylvester has been a member of the club since 2018 and became its Vice President over the summer.
While the online game nights have been utilized to keep the feeling of community alive, there have been disappointing modifications to the Esports calendar.
“We have had to cancel all of our LANS and our Expo, which is supposed to be our big event, that spans over three days,” Sylvester said.
Online engagement has increased across the board for companies and organizations due to the pandemic and SHSU’s Esports Club has been no different.
“The turnout for our online events have been better this semester than other online events we have had in the past due to most things being online,” Sylvester said.
The Esports Club at SHSU has experienced the same kinds of changes as countless other organizations, but their leadership has made sure a sense of engagement and camaraderie remains.