Video gaming, eSports coming to Sapulpa

High school to field gaming team for eSports league
Posted on 04/01/2019
eSports room(SPS) - Gaming is coming to Sapulpa High School.

You see your own kids playing video games at home and you’ve probably seen gaming tournaments broadcast on national television.

The value of the global eSports market is expected to be roughly $1.5 billion by 2020. Colleges and universities are getting in on esports with many having varsity programs. They see eSports as an avenue to attract more students and celebrate a diversity of interests on campus. Here are a couple of related articles.

Twenty colleges with varsity esports programs
Twenty-five scholarships for gamers   

Well, we’re getting into the mix. Sapulpa Public Schools views eSports as an opportunity to engage even more of its student body and to prepare its students for this emerging market.

District and high school administration gauged the interest of our students and the feedback was overwhelmingly in favor of bringing eSports to Sapulpa. As a result, work began in room 801 to renovate it from an old computer lab to a state of the art gaming facility. Tryouts are set to determine who will be on the team. More on that in a bit.

The district’s IT team worked out a sponsorship with one of the premier players in the industry, MSI, to receive computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, headsets, and gaming chairs.

The keyboards are durable and meant for multiple thousand keystrokes. Players will be able to add or remove weights to the mice to give them a better feel. The 24-inch, 144hz monitors are curved instead of flat-screened which provides more views for the players.

“You feel like you’re sitting right in the game,” said Coach Jesse Swayze of the curved monitors.

And of course, the chairs. They resemble what drivers sit on in their race cars. Minus the five-point harness.

"Students are really hyped about, these are really nice chairs, they're really comfortable," said Swayze.  

The room is outfitted with 12 gaming stations down the middle of the room, six on either side. This will allow for head-to-head competitions when other schools visit. There are two other stations for one-on-one competitions as well. Two 65-inch monitors are mounted on the wall which will allow for streaming from the middle consoles for others in the room to watch the action in real-time. Take a tour of the room in the video player below.

Sapulpa is joining an eSports league that features six to seven other schools in our area that play Overwatch, League of Legends, Madden 19, Rocket League, and Super Smash Bros. The first competition is a tournament at Union High School on April 20. In order to compete in the tourney, we need a team and that’s where tryouts will come into play.

Coach Swayze and staff will host tryouts for students in 9th through 12th grades in room 801 after school beginning on April 3 and continuing through Friday. The team will be determined as a result of how each student performs on the games. However, those students who may not make a team will still be able to participate in the program and play. Gaming will be like other extra-curricular activities. Students will need to maintain their grades and stay out of trouble to participate.

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