DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – When you think of sports at the college level, football, basketball and baseball usually come to mind. But another collegiate sport is emerging these days that doesn’t require a field, court or pool.
“Basically, our objective is to go, take out all the turrets and get to their main base and destroy the main building,” said Misericordia University sophomore Peter Decker of Dallas. It may sound like your average role playing video game experience but soon it will be part of Misericordia University’s Athletics Department. It’s called esports. Misericorida University Director of Athletics Chuck Edkins said, “So you’re dealing with strategy. You’re dealing with cooperation among teammates. You’re dealing with an opponent so the wins and loss factors come into play.”
Misericordia will assemble a 15 member coed varsity collegiate video gaming team to compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports pitting them against their peers at other colleges and universities. Mr. Decker is a member of Misericorida’s tennis team and hopes to be part of its esports team, too. “Any sport, there’s that mental aspect. You have to be sharp in order to do esports and regular sports,” he said.
Not to mention all the hand-eye coordination it takes to excel which senior Zoe LaPorte of West Pittston, who hasn’t participated in collegiate sports, hopes to display. “You never think of yourself as a student-athlete but I guess in a sense it is like an athletic kind of sport. You know, it requires a lot of determination and practicing.”
While no scholarships will be awarded for the esports program at Misericordia, prize money could be at stake but any money won representing Misericordia would go back into the esports program here. Misericordia will launch it in the fall semester by participating in three collegiate games: “League of Legends”, “Rocket League” and “Hearthstone”. Mr. Edkins hopes esports serves as a 21st century recruiting tool. “So many young people now are entrenched in online gaming that it is very much of interest and I think it’s something that can really take off.”
Misericordia will build a dedicated esports gaming room on campus with 15 gaming computers. The university is also beginning an immediate search for an esports coach.