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Esports Committee carries on as normal amid pandemic

Bradley student extracurriculars and clubs have had to adjust their activities on operations during a semester of in-person and remote learning, but not the Bradley Esports Committee.

Even before the pandemic, the Esports Committee operated through the messaging and digital distribution platform Discord to interact, hold events and run practices.

“One of the great things about Esports is its ability to persist through tough situations,
like a global pandemic,” said Griffin Kemp, a senior interactive media major and the chairman of executive affairs for the Bradley Esports Committee. “Esports, at least the collegiate level currently, only requires that players own the game, a computer capable of running that game and a decent internet connection.”

The Discord allows for players and coaches to continue bonding while also maintaining social distance, according to Hassan Sopha, a senior English major and one of the committee’s coaches. Sopha, who has also written for The Scout, said digital-only interactions do not garner as strong team-relations as in-person interactions would.

“In our computer lab we could throw things up on the whiteboard, adjust based on what the real people in front of us were expressing and socialize in a much more organic way,” Sopha said. “A chat room forces everyone to be on the same level of interaction, without the flexibility to just pop over to a one-on-one chat with a teammate or to step out by themselves.”

This semester, the committee has 10 competitive teams to compete in national leagues with over 50 students involved. There are three types of competitions for varying levels of skills: intercollegiate, intramurals and local. Some of the most popular games played are “League of Legends,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “Rocket League,” “Rainbow Six Siege” and “Overwatch.”

But even digitally, the competitive spirit can still range on.

“You don’t realize when you’re by yourself, in your room, with your headphones on how close people feel when they’re practically yelling in your ears,” Sopha said. “It’s something I have to remind my players often.”

In addition to their competitive teams, the Esports Committee also has games played for fun like “Jackbox Party Games” and “Among Us.”

By using more leisurely games and players advocating for movie nights, the committee has been able to keep up morale and continue its mission.

“Esports brings community, competition and career development to Bradley students,” Kemp said. “Video games unify people more than one would think. Esports and gaming does not
always mean the most hardcore games or the most competitive players. Esports and
gaming is about connecting over video games of any kind.”

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