One of the most explosive developments in the years-long resistance to traditional K-12 education practices is the emergence of esports. Esports in recent memory has been simultaneously heralded as one of the most innovative developments in the area of sports recreation and derided for what some may consider the seeming lack of skill that is involved with mashing a few buttons.
Despite the critiques, esports is still chugging along victoriously with the International Olympic Committee’s announcement last year of the Olympic Virtual Series with potential plans to make esports a medaled event by the 2028 Olympic Games.
The recent fervor around esports has naturally meant that increased attention has been paid to the cultivation of esports skills, with the bulk of the focus being on high schools. There is a multitude of benefits that can stem from high schools implementing an esports league for their students, some are more obvious than others. Here are a few to consider when thinking about the benefits that esports can have on high school students.
Place of Community
One of the more apparent benefits of esports, especially at the high school level is its ability to foster a sense of community and belonging. In the social media era that we are all currently trudging through, teenagers are increasingly feeling the brunt of it on the social end. A 2020 Cigna study found that 79% of Generation Z “report sometimes or always feeling alone.” Fostering an esports community amongst high school students would alleviate the stress of feeling alone. The natural camaraderie that comes with bonding over a shared interest like video games is a surefire way to combat the increasing social issues that young people are facing.
An understated plus in providing esports entertainment for high school students is the ability of the sport to propel high-performing students into higher education through educational scholarship opportunities. Similar to traditional sports recruiting, select universities have begun to implement esports leagues that offer lucrative scholarship opportunities. Although most scholarships range from $500 to $8,000, there have been increasing instances of schools providing full rides for students recruited to their varsity esports leagues.
One of the more practical benefits of esports for high schoolers is the ability of the sport to prepare players for their future careers. While most high school players won’t go on to become professional players, esports does provide the skills and tools necessary in preparing students for their future careers. The collaborative and critical thinking skills that are integral to being a successful esports player are easily transferable to future career opportunities.
These are just some of the many benefits that come with playing esports. Providing the chance for high school students to become acquainted with the sport sooner rather than later
makes it so that they are able to acquire and begin using these beneficial skills in the sport and beyond.
“Cigna Newsroom – Loneliness In America.” Cigna Newsroom, 2021, newsroom.cigna.com/loneliness-in-america.