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“This is what I want to do with my life:” eSports thriving with traditional sports on hold

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MEQUON - Classes are canceled and traditional sports are on hold right now. However, at Concordia University Wisconsin one program in the athletic department still competing this spring: eSports.

"We're in a fortunate spot where we're able to take everything 100% online," eSports Director Lewis Smith told FOX6.

Branching out from typical ball and stick games, these high-tech competitors share some of the fundamental traits of traditional athletes.

eSports Gaming Arena at Concordia University Wisconsin

"It is very much a teamwork thing," said Rebecca Gehm, a CUW eSports player.

Smith says the competition provides excitement similar to watching an NBA game, "That`s like the biggest thing that sold me on eSports was like everything I loved about traditional sports. Like players playing at a very high skill level. Watching players do what I can`t do, fierce competitions with high stakes."

While you might not find these players spending free time in a weight room, their dedication to their team is unquestionable.

Ben Van Boxtel, captain of the "Call of Duty" team, says, "Basically me being a captain I`m trying to get everybody on the same level or at least on a similar level so we can all compete together."

Even though it's the newest athletic program on campus, eSports is opening opportunities for students to become student-athletes. And in a rapidly-growing industry, the program also sets them up for career opportunities beyond college.

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"Right from the get-go I offered coach Smith like, 'Hey, if you need anything from me I will happily be at your aid, whatever you need.' So that's kind of how I got the internship for the team manager," said Josh Klausmeier, who hopes his virtual experience will lead to real-world possibilities. "I realized this is bigger than I could have imagined it and it's just continuing to grow and I want to be a part of it."

Those kinds of opportunities for students are why more and more universities are recognizing the potential of eSports and investing in new programs. "Concordia just jumped all in and put it as a varsity sport and let me build an eSports arena on campus that has top of the line gaming equipment and they've given their 100% support to us every step along the way," Smith said.

With all other sports on hold, eSports is positioned to just keep growing.

You can watch the Concordia eSports Team online:

https://www.twitch.tv/cuwesports

https://www.instagram.com/cuwesports/

 

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