eSports team adding to opportunities for David City students – Hastings Tribune

DAVID CITY — It doesn’t involve throwing a football, kicking a soccer ball or putting a basketball through a hoop.

Actually, eSports are different than all other traditional sports. But those participating in David City High School’s inaugural eSports season say that their digital playing field is just as competitive as those in other varsity sports. 

“Once it gets bigger and bigger and more and more schools get involved, it will be just like anything else,” said Adam Ebbeka, the Scouts’ eSports coach. “Right now it’s still a little overlooked in the big picture, but next year there could be twice as many schools doing it. There has been a lot of interest from people contacting the NSeSA board.”

That is the Nebraska Schools eSports Association. The organization was created three years ago to allow nontraditional athletes to compete with their peers and against outside competition. This is David City’s first year participating in eSports, with 29 freshmen through seniors competing.

For those unfamiliar, eSports consists of organized, multi-player video game competitions between individuals or teams. This year, 13 teams from schools small and large have battled it out since the fall semester began.

David City students at the beginning of the season selected one of three games to focus their efforts: “Overwatch,” “Rocket League” or “StarCraft II.” When the spring season begins, students will once again have to decide which game to work on, “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” or “League of Legends.”

Ebbeka said it was a successful fall campaign, noting that the nine-student “Overwatch” team from David City placed second at the Nov. 23 eSports State Tournament held at Midland University in Fremont. The university in 2016 began providing athletic scholarships to eSports participants.

Simon Schindler, a sophomore, had never played “Overwatch” before joining the eSports team this year but picked up on its intricacies through team competitions and twice-weekly practices.

Schindler said he plans to keep at eSports the rest of his high school career. It’s enabled him to make some new friends, learn something different and compete against other gamers around Nebraska.

“It exceeded my expectations this year — I joined kind of late,” he said. “A friend asked me to join, and coming in I didn’t know what to expect. And it turned out that I loved it.”

Ebbeka, the school district’s computer technician, had similar reservations. He was a bit wary of the time commitment and how hard it might be to get the students up to speed.

It turned out, though, that once he provided the basics, skilled students were able to take the lead and help their peers.

“It has just been a whole lot of fun,” he said.

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