T.C. Roberson High School just leveled up after spawning the area’s first high school electronic sports (esports) team, joining a growing community of elite gamers.
Dozens of gamers have already joined or shown interest in joining the team, and Head Coach Trent Wharton is seeking sponsors for a dedicated gaming center, jerseys, and other equipment. For now, most of the actual competitions take place off campus, but during regular meetings, Mr. Wharton and fellow coaches Lacie Jones and Jared Brush work with their players on interview skills, nutrition for performance, digital citizenship, time management, and applying to college.
“We’re teaching the team how to be professional gamers, how to get noticed by colleges, apply for scholarships, and how to pursue careers in the gaming industry,” he said. “This is fun, but it can also be lucrative for their future.”
For those unfamiliar with the concept, high school esports involves individual students and groups of students who play video games like Halo Infinite, Overwatch, Rocket League, Fortnite and more in online competitions against other high schoolers from around the country. The competition styles are somewhat comparable to track and field, with each Ram “team” specializing in one or a few games. Winners earn prestige for their school and cash prizes or even college scholarships for themselves.
Senior James Sorrells is part of a Halo Infinite team ranked No. 14 in the Southeastern Region through High School Esports League (HOME).
“I actually wanted to start an esports club when I was a freshman, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “To see it happen now with so many people interested, it’s been really rewarding. Being the first official team in the county, I feel honored. It’s a step in the right direction.”