By: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor
The St. Newman room in the basement of Sacred Heart has a new look this school year, and it will also have a new purpose.
The room now houses the new Newman esports team, led by head coach Kurt McDonald, who says he has big plans for the program in its first year.
“Currently, we have a lounge, where members can play Smash Bros, four computers for Rocket League, two computers for Smash Bros. and a homework desk,” McDonald said.
Esports is new at Newman this year. The school has been talking about adding it as an official sport and has now become the 10th Kansas college to do so. Newman is now a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).
Newman’s esports team has two games that it plays. Rocket League is a soccer game where the players are driving cars. The second game is Super Smash Bros., where players battle on floating platforms as characters.
The team has four members — three members for Rocket League and one for Super Smash Bros. — but it’s still looking for more members and is hoping to bring them on by Sept. 17.
“We need at least one more for each game, and if we meet deadlines, we can compete at the varsity level,” said McDonald.
If students are interested, McDonald encourages them to email him and find time to try out for the team.
Along with needing members, the esports team also needs equipment.
“I estimate that we need $20,000 more to have the program at where we will want it,” McDonald said.
He hopes to buy more gaming computers, monitors and chairs for his athletes and also is hoping to get equipment so the announcers can commentate live from the room where the team will compete. Lastly, as the Newman’s esports athletes become ranked, McDonald hopes to be able to put them on scholarship.
“To gain money, we are looking at doing different fundraisers,” McDonald said. “One of our ideas is to set up a booth at Riverfest next year. We will have our athletes compete against the general public in a game like Rocket League.”
McDonald said he hopes to help break the common stereotype that esports is just playing generic video games.
Senior and Rocket League member Robert Schoenthaler says there's a lot of work that goes into an esports team.
“I myself am a huge Chiefs fan, and esports is just like football. You need teamwork, practices, and other coaches to get you to the best of your ability,” Schoenthaler said.
The competitions will be live streamed so the Newman community can follow along.
The esports season begins on Sept. 25th and goes until Nov. 6. Playoffs will be from Nov. 13 to Nov. 27 with a championship match up on Dec. 4.
PHOTO: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor