By Paige Siewert
Ground has been broken, so to speak, in the development of the eSports program at the University of Saint Mary. Drew Boehm was named head coach at the beginning of September and the recruitment of a new team and designing of a practice facility is already underway.
Coach Boehm comes from a heavy gaming background including nationally ranked competitive play and development of other eSports organizations. He has been gaming ever since he can remember, growing up playing Starcraft and League of Legends.
eSports refers to online video games that are nationally popular enough to drive large-scale competition. Coach Boehm confirms there will be a League of Legends team and other teams will be formed based on student interest and popularity. He hopes to attend large-scale tournaments competing against national organizations like NACE, TESPA, CSL, AVGL among other collegiate eSport programs. The goal is to eventually have Saint Mary host a competition as the program develops.
Not every game is cut out for tournament play however. Games are usually picked up in eSport tournaments when eSport organizations show interest and masses are playing the game. This makes it easier to pick out the elite players from the inexperienced.
However, experience will not be a make or break factor for the St Mary eSports program. Practices are planned to be held three to five times a week in a new eSport facility on campus, giving competitors plenty of time to brush up on skills before tournaments. Athletes will be put in teams based on the game but League of Legends have a team requirement of at least five.
Gaming can be a very rewarding experience and making a competitive sport out of it brings that to the next level. Coach Drew Boehm says “I think that few feelings compare to the rush of coming back from behind and winning. Learning how to think on your feet, communicate clearly, outmaneuver your opponent, and work closely as a team are all incredibly important sills that competitive gaming can help one polish and perfect over time.”
If you or someone you know is interested in the USM eSports program, head to www.gospires.com/esports and fill out an application form to begin the recruiting process. Coach Boehm would like to build a team based on strength in numbers and is interested in incoming freshman and transfers as well as students already attending Saint Mary. After filing an application and starting the recruitment process, you will go over replays, strategic discussion, watching the team and possible on-site tryouts.
Paige Siewert is a Senior attending the University of Saint Mary studying Digital Communications.