Esports club thrives in age of COVID-19

Courtesy of GVSU Esports Twitter

Courtesy of GVSU Esports Twitter

Holly Bihlman, Sports Writer

The Grand Valley State University Esports Club has been one of the only competitive student organizations to stay in session during the COVID-induced hiatus that most other sports have endured. Being a mostly-online club, they’ve been able to continue playing games with each other, both casually and competitively, as well as staying in touch through their Discord server.

With over 500 members in the Discord now, the Esports Club is a growing community at GVSU, with hopes to begin competing at the national collegiate level in the next few years. 

The Esports Club plays several games together for fun as well as at the competitive level, but their most popular games are Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League with around 70 competitive players in each game.

All 12 of their competitive games, which can be found on their club website, have game leaders that organize tournaments and compete against other teams. Their Rocket League team was in the top five on the East Coast last year, and their goal is to be able to compete against schools like MSU once GVSU is eligible to join the National Association of Colligate Esports (NACE). 

“I kind of consider it like track and field where you have all of your different events and they compete separately, but they all kind of group together at the end,” said Esports Club President Lucas Champoux. 

Since they are still a fairly new club, their potential to compete at the national level is ever-growing. The teams have the opportunity to compete with Tespa, a worldwide community of colligate esports leagues that host competitions between schools all over the country, as well as winning prize money and scholarships. 

“We want to keep it on both sides, casual play and competitive,” Champoux said. “We really see, especially now, how important having that community is, but also there is a lot of drive in people that play on these competitive teams to go out and compete on a larger scale.”

With 12 competitive games to focus on, they also play 27 other games for players that are less competition driven. Going on their third year as a club, Champoux is always welcoming anyone in the GVSU community who wants to be a part of the discord and makes it a priority to be sure that any games people want to play are added to their selection. 

“Even though were up to over 500 people in our Discord server, we still try to make sure everyone has their own place to talk and can find people to hang and play games with,” Champoux said. “I really love Smash Bros and I always have. I’m awful at competitive games though, which is kind of a running joke in the club: the guy that’s in charge of everything is awful at all of them.”

With most of their events still taking place this season, their games can be watched on live streams through Twitch which are posted on their Twitter account, @GVSUesports. Currently their Rainbow Six Seige team is competing in a tournament against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders with an overall score of 2-1 Highlanders. 

“Whether or not you believe you’re good at video games or you’re looking for a community to play casual games with, you’re more than welcome,” Champoux said. “I’m in charge of it and I’m awful at just about any video game that exists.”

To find out more about the Esports club, visit their Twitter for live streams of their competitions, join the Discord server, and stay in touch through social media to become a part of the GVSU Esports community.