Esports like Rocket League provide Gonzaga students opportunites to stay connected with friends.

Though social distancing has changed the structure of how many activities are done, the e-sports scene on Gonzaga’s campus is still alive and well.

One of the beauties of video games is that they don’t need to be in-person, so many e-sport tournaments and clubs have transitioned online in order to promote safety for their participants. E-sports have done a good job of bringing people together during the pandemic.

“When this pandemic first started, I came together with my friends from SFSU and CSUN and we set up a 64 team Valorant tournament across the West Coast that lasted three weeks,” said the League of Legends Club President Robbie Meehan. “I was able to bring some students together from Gonzaga and allow them to play together during a time that was stressful for everyone. We created this tournament solely for students to stay connected during the pandemic and it was a great experience for everyone involved.”

The scene on campus is full of variety. Clubs on campus include anything from classics like Super Smash Bros. to Overwatch to newer groups like League of Legends.

“We have some of the nicest people in the club I’ve met,” said Smash Club President Abigail Mozzone. “It’s such a friendly environment. We’re able to joke around. It’s welcoming.”

All students are welcome and are encouraged to participate, despite their level of competitiveness.

“That’s honestly the biggest barrier for people for this," Mozzone said. "They don’t feel like they’re good enough. A lot of people don’t come and join our weekly meetings because they feel like everyone is hyper competitive and they’re going to weekly tournaments and winning, and that’s not really the case."

“We do have some people who are like that. Overall, it’s just people who want to try out some one-on-one stuff and have fun.”

Beyond clubs, several tournaments are hosted on campus as well. Through IMLeagues, students can register to participate in e-sport competitions over the weekends. Prizes are usually involved.

The e-sports scene on campus is growing in popularity, and with the ongoing pandemic, virtual activities are encouraged, hopefully leading to an expansion of the scene.

“I know there are many members of the Gonzaga community that have yet to join the club and may not be aware of the e-sports scene on campus. I feel like the current e-sports culture on Gonzaga is small, and has a large potential for growth,” Meehan said.

Alexander Prevost is a staff writer. Follow him on Twitter: @Alexanderprvst.

Alexander Prevost is a staff writer for the Gonzaga Bulletin. He is passionate about writing, politics, and music.

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