AN ESPORTS GUIDE FOR PARENTS OF OHIO NORTHERN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Q: Is this serious? Or is this just an elaborate excuse to play games at school?
A: Yes, it’s very serious, and, no, we don’t treat esports as a hobbyist activity. It is a game, and it is for entertainment. Our coach takes this very seriously as a lifelong career. The players may not take it as seriously, but we will teach them that esports is no different than any other sport in terms of the camaraderie and bonds they’ll build.
Q: How is this similar to real sports? They’re just playing games, right?
A: In some ways, esports is exactly the same. In some ways, it’s not. To parents, the obvious difference is that their students are not getting exercise or gaining normal health benefits from it. While true, it doesn’t defeat the fact that this is still a very competitive activity with team-building and communication-skills benefits. The same mental struggles a sports player goes through with trying to better themselves or win at something are the same mental obstacles an esports player will have in their development.
Q: How will they have time to study? I know how long they spend playing.
A: They’re actually going to play less than their normal leisurely play. Being on a team and progressing as a team for just a couple hours a day is more tiresome than playing for 10 hours. We won’t have them training any longer than a normal sports team does at this school, which is around 15-20 hours a week. We will help them stay in shape, and we have the same resources athletic teams have at ONU.
Q: What kind of scholarships can my student get playing esports at ONU?
A: For now, the scholarship can be up to $2,000 a year. Students will gain this scholarship each year pending the results of team tryouts. We’ll conduct tryouts every year.
Q: When are tryouts?
A: This first year may be different than subsequent annual tryout dates. We’re planning to have tryouts a few weeks before fall semester, so possibly July each year.
Q: How long is an esports season, and when are games played through the academic year?
A: We’ll always be practicing. Seasons usually mimic the academic sessions for spring and fall, with leagues running live tournaments at the end of fall, i.e., regionals, nationals, worlds.
Q: Can I come to campus to watch my child play? Is there a viewing area?
A: There will be events for big matches we’ll be in, and there will also be fun events for watching professional games either on campus or streaming online.
Q: What life skills can an esports player gain from being on a collegiate team?
A: First, a majority of these players have never been on a team that practices together face-to-face. Being in the presence of someone who may criticize your skills can be a humbling experience that can prepare these students for the real world. Being on a team doing any competitive activity over a long period of time helps develop interpersonal skills and teaches the team how to overcome challenges together.
Q: What other jobs can stem from being involved in esports besides being a player?
A: Managers (logistics, people, sports, content), media producers, social media, public relations, human resources, information technology and coaching, to name a few. There are many more that basically mimic professional sports with some added roles for the digital age and cord-cutting trends.