Esports comes to Fossil


Liam Flake

Brent Jones poses in front of the Fossil Ridge football field's goal post with a controller

Brent Jones, Activities Writer

Correction 10/14/19: In a statement by the district, “Given the nature and complexity of the IT work that needs to be done to ensure that we provide the appropriate level of access for our scholar athletes, there are some technical hurdles that the team is working through. Our goal is for PSD to compete with other Colorado schools beginning in the Spring 2020 season. In order to make that happen, the plan is to use this fall as an opportunity to test various aspects of our IT infrastructure to ensure that we are ready to compete with other schools in the spring.”

Last year, unbeknownst to all but the administrators, a new sport for Colorado schools began taking shape, esports. Yes, the long loved and loathed electronic sporting events for gamers are coming to Colorado courtesy of CHSSA and Playvs as an official sport of Fossil Ridge High School. 

That’s right, an official sport, where members are treated as athletes within the school and are coached by teachers Chris Lake and Rob Jackson, with weekly matches on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, because players are considered athletes, they must meet the eligibility standards that other athletes achieve, such as good grades and minimal disciplinary action. Just because you get to play games does not mean that this is easy by any stretch of the imagination, and players must be skilled at Smite, League of Legends, and Rocket League in order to have a chance at making the varsity team.

The varsity team, composed of five to seven players, are required to participate in the Fall and Spring season. The Fall season begins the week of the October 14th and at the end of the week the Varsity teams must be set. Once the teams are set, the Fall season begins the week after and ends in January with the playoffs. CHSSA has yet to announce the championship dates for both the Fall and Spring season, but they can be expected to occur at the end of the playoffs, when the finalists are determined. Immediately following the end of the Fall season, the Spring season will begin in February and end in May.

In an interview with Jackson, more details were shed on how the team functions specifically at Fossil. After paying a $64 joining fee, players will report to the Ridge TV labs, where the best computers in the school reside. Players are then debriefed in informational meetings and then expected to practice. Practice dates have not been decided, but it could be as much as five times a week. In these practices, students will review footage from the last match and critique what they did wrong. There will be group discussion and individual mentoring. Though it will be mostly group discussion because all of the games are composed of teams. 

Due to Lake and Jackson not possessing experience with these games, students will also be expected to find the most experienced amongst themselves to serve as mentors. Most likely, this will look like the Varsity team mentoring Junior Varsity. Though, as Mr. Jackson suggested, alumni may also be brought in to help support the team.

Esports certainly looks like an exciting new activity for students to engage with and participate in. Perhaps we will even get live streamed games from Fossil.