By: Victor Dixon, A&E Editor
Newman’s Esports team started its first-ever season this year and its main focus has been – and will continue to be – building the program, said their coach Kurt McDonald.
The team is coached by Kurt McDonald, and currently plays in Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competitions. Its most recent Rocket League match also put the team in the playoffs for its conference.
Everyone on the four-person team is new, so team members are starting their community and relationships from the foundation.
“Things have been good,” said Robert Schoenthaler, a senior on the team, and captain of its Rocket League division.
“The biggest advantage Esports has over sports is since we are smaller, it’s like we’re a family, given the time we spend with each other and the coach. We all are able to express who we are as people without having to worry about fitting in since everyone is accepting of each other,”
Even though the team is enjoying its close-knit dynamics, McDonald said he is always ready to welcome new people to the team. He already considers the team to be relatively diverse, but he would love to welcome people of many other backgrounds and identities as players. He’s also looking for a team manager and one or two sportscasters to commentate over games. He’s particularly interested in talking to sports media majors about those jobs.
McDonald said he doesn’t consider himself a coach but rather a coordinator whose job is to facilitate practice times, fundraising, and mental coaching so that the team can be at its best. The level of skill that the players achieve as individuals is almost entirely up to them, he said.
“I’m teaching them leadership lessons in how to coach themselves effectively and coach each other effectively and grow together as a team,” McDonald said.
As Esports grows in popularity in local public high schools and universities nationwide, the team is hoping it will be able to grab even more attention and get more students interested in playing.
The team’s next game will be its Rocket League semi-finals on Nov. 27, and it will be streamed on McDonald’s Twitch channel “DrKurtle”. The team will also be fundraising on campus and online by selling digital vouchers for Krispy Kreme donuts starting next week.