Not all sports have been cancelled in our era of social distancing. Esports remains, and competitions can occur at a distance while players do their part to “flatten the curve” and slow the rate of new COVID-19 infections.
Shenandoah University’s varsity esports squad stepped back into action on April 6, playing a Rocket League match against Florida Southern College. The Rocket League squad will play another match on Wednesday, April 15, on Monday, April 20, and Wednesday, April 22, at 8 p.m. Overwatch competition resumes at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.
Other upcoming competitions include:
It’s easy to check out the varsity team’s games, because they’re all streamed on the team’s Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/shenandoahesports/videos. Shenandoah fields teams for several games: Overwatch, Rocket League, Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
You can watch for free on Twitch, or you can show additional support by subscribing to the team’s channel – half of the subscription fee goes to Twitch and the other half goes to the team, said Shenandoah University Director of Esports, Associate Professor of Esports and Associate Professor of Sport Management Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D. (You can even watch games wearing official Shenandoah esports gear, which you can order from NEU Gaming.)
Dr. Gawrysiak noted that watching games is a great way to understand more about the entire world of esports. Not only is the FIFA 2020 World Cup streamed in English, but there are also numerous options for our international students from France to watch live-streamed eSports events online in French. This year, the FIFA producer will donate $1 million to Global Giving’s coronavirus relief fund, and viewers and participants will be able to donate during the game.
There is no better way to start learning about it than by watching. Twitch also allows for people to chat and interact during the broadcast so it would be a great way to start learning about esports and gaming. I would love for the greater community to be involved in watching and/or streaming themselves! They can learn why this industry is entertaining and continues to grow.”
The esports industry is the focus of Shenandoah University’s esports academic program, but the esports team isn’t only for esports majors. However, it does serve as a training ground for those in the academic program.
Some students are in both [the team and the academic program] and they certainly overlap. The students in the major work with the student competitors to run events for them to get real experience. They certainly work hand in hand with each other to benefit one another.”