On Jan. 18, the Grand Valley State University Esports team hosted the grand opening event for the Laker Esports Center (LEC).
President Philomena Mantella attended and made remarks to commemorate the opening of the LEC. The event concluded with a Rocket League match against Davenport. The teams played a seven-game series and GVSU got to celebrate its first esports victory after a game-winning goal in overtime of game seven.
Esports, which is highly competitive computer gaming, is growing rapidly on college campuses everywhere. Players from teams all over the the world, compete against each other in both online and in-person matches. Esports games played at GVSU include Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, Overwatch and more.
Second-year student Spencer Deitrick is a member of the Rocket League Blue Team, the most competitive Rocket League team at GVSU. Each player on the team competes against high-ranking collegiate and professional players regularly and it takes thousands of hours of practice to play at their level.
“I always enjoyed video games as a kid, and to be able to play the same game I grew up loving and obsessed with at a high level of competition and organization feels slightly like a dream,” Deitrick said. “Not to mention the community is great and there are lots of resources available for players looking to grow and improve in whatever game they are focused on.”
Much like athletes from other sports, esports players are constantly training to get better. This effort and dedication proved to benefit the team in their victory against Davenport. Deitrick, along with the rest of the team, is very proud of how the match turned out and knows that it took the whole team to win.
“Well, it was our first LAN event ever as a team and individually as well, so we definitely had to work through some nerves,” Deitrick said. “However, we managed to come out on top, which felt amazing not just because our hard work paid off, but also because we were able to celebrate a victory with our friends, coaches and supporters, which made it all the sweeter.”
Despite the nerves and the thrill of their first in-person competition, Deitrick and the rest of the team had to stay grounded and keep in mind that Davenport wanted to win just as badly as they did.
“Shoutout to the Davenport guys as well for coming out and giving us quite the challenge, the series could’ve just as easily gone their way. They’re really solid Rocket League players and a really nice group of people in general,” Deitrick said. “Shoutout to my teammate Ryan, aka Rilla, for clutching up with the open net shot in game seven as well.”
For students interested in getting involved, picking up a controller and trying out a new game is a great way to get into esports. More ways to get involved, according to Deitrick, include visiting events, asking questions and not being afraid to try something new.
“I personally discovered GVSU’s esports club by attending a Student Life event or something similar, and everyone I have met in the club so far has been really helpful and really kind when it comes to guiding new players through the esports world,” Deitrick said. “I believe you can also find a lot of information through GVSU’s website or the GVSU Esports Discord channel.”
To find a link to the GVSU Esports Discord channel, see what games are available, and to reach out with comments or questions, students can visit www.gvesports.org.
“Don’t be shy, if you’re even remotely considering getting involved in esports, do it,” Deitrick said. “It adds so much to the experience of gaming, no matter how competitive you plan on being. Plus, there’s no binding contract, you can always opt out if you discover it’s not for you.”