The definition of sports has evolved over time. New types of activities are emerging, breaking the traditional norms. At Messiah, these changes are being embraced, as seen with the Esports team.
The Esports team is relatively new, as they are currently participating in their fifth season. While the program does not have an extensive track record, this year they are looking to start a legacy of success.
The team competes against other schools in six different games; Overwatch, Valorant, Rocket League, League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Super Smash Bros. By playing online, there are no transportation limitations. This allows for matches to be held with schools across the country.
Messiah Esports participates in two separate leagues. NACE is an independent league, consisting of college teams paired with similar skills. The other league, the MAC, has a wide range of skill levels, with several powerhouse teams.
Matches are held in both the fall and the spring. The fall serves as a tryout period, where potential players are able to compete in scrimmages to assess their abilities. Six members are kept per team, with five having the opportunity to start. The spring features competitions with schools in both of these leagues. The winner for each league is determined by seeding.
Messiah faces tough competition, as Lebanon Valley, Alvernia, and Kettering University are all rivals to the program.
Each year the team has made tremendous strides in being competitive across the playing field. Last year, Messiah was strong, but ended up falling short. This year, however, is different. Three of the five Overwatch starters are new recruits. Building the team from the ground up has really put themselves in a great position to be competitive.
This season has gotten off to a strong start, as wins are piling up. “We played Lebanon Valley for the first time this season. Going into the game they had not lost a match, let alone a map in Overwatch. We ended up beating them 3-2. It was a huge confidence boost, showing we are able to hang with the best,” said sophomore Overwatch player Michael Sell.
Expectations for the spring are high. Winning the MAC and NACE leagues are both realistic goals, but they’re after something even more important; cohesion. “Talent is a big part of esports, but if you don’t have teamwork, you will go nowhere. Putting your skills together and playing as a team is what esports is all about. If we are able to do that, we will be competitive for years to come,” said Sell.
The combination of cohesion and talent has set the stage for Messiah Esports to make a huge impact and bring more attention to the program.
Tag Line: “Centerfield,” written by Matthew Simmons focuses on sports and clubs at Messiah that do not get enough attention. Simmons wants to inform campus about different club and collegiate athletic programs that fly under the radar.