Competitive video gaming, known as e-sports, is gaining popularity at Minnesota high schools.
About 30 students at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul are a part of the school’s e-sports team, which began this year, Minnesota Public Radio reported . More than 100 students tried out for the team, school officials said.
The sport requires skills such as reaction time, decision-making and time management, said Mula Lay, a Washington Technology senior.
“Soccer, football and tennis started as a game,” Lay said. “As a sport gains popularity, clubs are formed, teams are formed and professional leagues are formed. That’s what’s happening with e-sports now.”
Students practice every day as they prepare to compete against teams from other schools in tournaments. The Washington Technology team mostly plays a video game called “League of Legends.”
“For my school to be recognizing that the game I love can be played competitively and is being played competitively is just indescribable,” Lay said.
The chance to play video games competitively can be a way to get some students engaged in the rest of school, said Ross Mau, an e-sports coach at Washington Technology.
“We’ve got some kids out there that, you know, school’s not their thing. They’re not the best at school,” Mau said. “Now there’s a part of school that, ‘Oh I’m good at, I’m getting recognized for this.'”
The Minnesota Department of Education doesn’t recognize e-sports as an interscholastic or intramural activity, so it’s a district-level pursuit.
Farmington Senior High School and the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture charter school in Vadnais Heights are two other Twin Cities-area schools that offer e-sports.