FARGO — Fargo Public Schools is just one of the 14 school districts in North Dakota that started an esports team last school year. About 30 students are currently on the Fargo Public School's eSports Team.
The term "esports" refers to competitive video gaming and usually involves multiplayer games such as League of Legends and Rocket League.
High school junior Sameer Colbert says there are many benefits to the sport.
"It improves reactions time it can improve focus — I mean it's not the same as improving your physical health, but there's still import things that you can gain from this," Colbert said.
Last spring, the esports team were one of the only activities that could continue when schools went online and sports were canceled. They shut down for three weeks and then were back up and running because they can practice and compete without ever leaving home.
"Traditional kids that do football, basketball, volleyball — all of those things don't always hit every kid," said Coach Ullrich Reichenbach. "There's some kids that it's just not their thing, they're not the athletic type, and this is a chance for the non-athletic kids to have a way to be participating in school activities, and it reaches out to some kids that normally just wouldn't' be interested in things."
That's why Reichenbach started the program. The school invested in 10 gaming systems that are about $1,800 each, but Ullrich said it's a great investment.
There are many colleges that have scholarships for these high school students.
Hunter Kleas, president of the Rocket League team at NDSU, says esports has a unique advantage because they have more even time to practice now.
"We've really gown closer as a team because of the pandemic, because no one has anything to do, but we're able to play rocket league together," Kleas said.
If NDSU does go completely online, Kleas said his team will still be able to continue playing. Other sports aren't guaranteed that.
Both teams are actively recruiting new members. More information can be found on joining the Fargo Public School team by emailing the coach at email@example.com. Learn more about the NDSU's team at https://myndsu.ndsu.edu/organization/rocketleaguendsu.