Last Wednesday was game day for Ohio University’s collegiate Esports team.
Found in Scripps Hall, OU’s brand-new esports arena guarantees that online Bobcat athletes are always playing with the home field advantage.
According to the president of Bobcat Esports, Pat Daley, a senior studying media arts and studies, the Esports arena was officially opened on Sept. 12.
“The university approved everything around 2020,” Daley said. “Now that we’re finally online, we have 30 computers in this public space so anyone can come in and participate.”
During the Fall Semester, the Esports arena is used collegiately for two video games, Valorant (a first-person shooter) and Rocket league, the game played during Wednesday night’s match up.
Rocket league is an online, third-person view game, where participants use a vehicle to play soccer—among other sports1q.
Using boost pads found around the map, contestants can use these sudden bursts of speed to perform aerial tricks, bobbing and weaving through the air as they attempt to bury the ball in the back of their adversary’s goal.
Easier said than done, this level of play is often difficult to achieve, and only the best of the best are skilled enough to play competitively
Players who tryout for these collegiate teams are put through specialized training programs where their skills are analyzed until select players are chosen to act as OU’s varsity Rocket League Team.
For these players, 8 p.m. was game time, and the team took their seats in the specialized varsity section of the arena—ready for “kickoff.” Normally, the lights would dim, minimizing glare on the computer screens, but due to technical difficulties the lights remained bright, causing several of the players to wear hats to combat the fluorescent shine.
Across from the varsity section sat an announcers table, where two commentators positioned across from a mounted camera gave viewers at home a play-by-play explanation of the fast pace actions occurring on the screen in front of them.
First up, Kent State. The Bobcats took the first game but lost the next three, resulting in a Kent State victory.
In between games, the team’s coaching staff could be seen beyond the camera giving advice to players as the matches heated up.
Next, starting at 9 p.m., OU battled Northeastern University, but unfortunately it also resulted in a loss.
Team member Ben Herman, a sophomore studying psychology, was a little disappointed with the team’s performance.
“I think we did not play our game,” he said.
Due to sickness and other unforeseen circumstances, the team didn’t play themselves according to Herman.
“If you were to watch last week’s game, we look like a way more confident and energetic team,” Herman said.
Known by the screen name of “Disrespect,” Herman said he has always had the game downloaded, but began to take Rocket League seriously around 2020.
Adamantly nodding his head, Herman confirmed it was his favorite game.
When the varsity team does not have matches, the arena is open to anyone and everyone, said Anthony Frazier, a freshman studying virtual reality and game development as well as business management.
“We are open from Monday to Friday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Saturday we are open from 6 to 10 p.m,” said Frazier. “All of our equipment is run from a server that hosts all the games.”
Students have eight hours a week they can use the facilities free of charge and those hours reset on Monday, according to Frazier.
While the Esports arena is closed on Sundays, it’s a relaxed environment to kick back and play video games by oneself, or with a group of friends after an exhausting day of classes, especially as the temperature begins to plummet.
If one is interested in watching the collegiate matches, Scripps Hall is always open for in-person viewing or one can tune in every Tuesday and Wednesday to watch this season’s matches take place on Twitch.