E-Sports emerging across country as high schools assemble teams

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E-sports is one of the fastest growing trends in the country.
And many states are even recognizing it as an official high school sport, including Connecticut.

High school senior Benjamin Malek’s after school routine is like many students-getting the team together and going to practice, but this team doesn’t compete on the field, they compete on screen.

Malek, a Maryland high school senior, said, “There are some online tournaments, there are some tournaments that we will go to.”

Eight states have recognized competitive video game playing, also known as e-sports, as an official high school varsity sport, but Malek’s high school in Maryland is not one of them.
So instead, he comes here to “The Game Gym.”

A private gaming club where students can compete and hire a private coach like Samuel Tebi.

Samuel Tebi, Administrator at The Game Gym, said, “Getting down to the nitty gritty of each game, getting the x’s and o’s.”

Players say e-sports opens the door for more students to participate.  Because there are fewer physical requirements.

Founder of The Game Gym Josh Hafkin says he expects every high school will log on to e-sports in the next 3 to 5 years. But first, high schools will have to convince some of e-sports toughest critics: mom and dad.

Hafkin, CEO and Founder of The Game Gym, said, “I hope that parents treat video gaming a little bit more as an opportunity to learn than just a waste of time.”

Sports management professor Lisa Neiroitti agrees. She says especially if high schools require esports players to maintain good grades to stay on the team.

Neirotti, sports management professor at George Washington University, said, “So they are going to be a more well-rounded individual by joining an esport team.”

And esports may even open doors for students after high school. Right now more thirty US colleges and universities offer scholarships for gamers.

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