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Don’t stop playing those video games! Playing games can now pay one’s way to college

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
There was a time when parents were about ready to pull their hair out to find ways to get their children away from playing video games and get outside for fresh air and exercise.

Those days are long gone, however, as with the ever-advancing increase in technology playing games can now help parents send their children to school and these students can also earn money playing these games.

“You might be surprised to find that the second-highest paying individual award in sports and the second most-watched sport in America are eSports,” shared Alex Campbell, an educator at Elizabethton High School. “If you haven’t heard of eSports, it is a competition between a person or a team using multiplayer video game platforms.

“This is kind of different because we have never had an eSports signing before. It’s one of the things that I love most about Elizabethton High School. We have a lot of different students who are diverse and have a lot of different loves besides just your three basic sports.”

Also most surprising is this move to eSports began over a decade ago and now almost 200 colleges and universities have varsity eSports that total over $15 million in scholarships per year with some colleges and universities even offering full-ride scholarships for entire teams which is usually 16 players.

In 2018, the League of Legends (a common game played for eSports) World Championship garnered more viewers than the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four combined according to Campbell.

Elizabethton High School senior Katelyn Kechter is one student that is catching the wave of entering the eSports arena as she recently signed in the Commons Area of the high school to compete for Tennessee Wesleyan University.

Kechter has been active in many classes, sports, and other clubs while attending Elizabethton.

“I feel like it was important to have this signing because it shows our school that there is an importance in this and the world is changing away from the traditional contact sports and the traditional live audience sports,” Kechter said after signing her Letter of Intent. “I signed for Overwatch
which is a game that came out in 2016 and won the Game of the Year award.

“There is an international league currently and I am personally Team Gladiators. There was actually a boy who was 14 years old who won $1 million for a Fort Nite competition so there is a lot of opportunities and a lot of opportunities to get lucrative offers.”

Elizabethton High School will also field its first-ever eSports team in the Fall of 2021. The team will be coached by Chad Salyer and Jason Clevinger.

This open door will provide a new avenue for students to represent the school in this growing field.