South’s Esports team, and Esports in general, is on the rise


Ezra Gearhart

South’s Esports team practices in advisor Rob Panning-Miller’s room. More high schoolers than ever are picking up their headsets. Matches can be done anytime, anywhere, and with practically any sort of game. Who knows- it may even be the future of sports.

Ezra Gearhart, Staff Writer

As the current Minnesota state champs in Bedwars and Chess, South High’s Esports Team is gearing up for the 2021 season. With almost 3 times the amount of competitors that signed up last year and a rapidly growing scene of high school esports in the state and country, the future of the team looks bright. 

Mr. Panning-Miller runs South High School’s Esports Club, which competes in the MN Varsity League in the following: Call of Duty, Valorant, Super Smash Bros, chess, Minecraft Bedwars, and Rocket League. The club meets through Discord, an online communication platform. Each individual game has its own practices. Panning Miller says that although last year’s chess champion graduated, the returning bedwars team will very likely do very well again and the group is promising in the other events. 

Mr. Panning Miller said that although the state tournament was not huge last year, he thinks in 2021 it will be bigger. There will be more schools and more competitors from each school. The MN Varsity League season consists of a 7-game round-robin within each pod. The pods are decided by last year’s seeds (rankings), teams are dispersed evenly to each pod. New teams this year are put at the bottom of the seed list. The first round of matches in each section will be done by next Sunday night. At the end of the 7-week stretch, there is a divisional playoff tournament between the best seeds of each pod.

The MN Varsity League is far more flexible than most competitive activities. Teams receive their matches for the week and schedule them by themselves. They receive the other team’s contact information and start competing in the afternoon on Sundays. However, if both teams agree on it, they may change the time. Finally, both teams submit the scores from the match.

Each event has a different “default.” A default is a time that’s set for each event that both teams are forced to play at if they can’t agree on a different time. For example, the default time for Chess is Wednesdays at 5 pm. If the round results aren’t reported by Sunday night, both teams get a forfeit loss.

The top bedwars team is called “Los Tigres.” One member, who asked to stay anonymous, said that after winning the state championship last year against 5 other teams, they got a snazzy metal trophy and a pretty cool title. They feel good about this year, with “High hopes.” The members of Los Tigres are preparing for the season by practicing together for fun in and their free time. 

Many of South’s teams also have a position called a sub. That person can be switched into the next match at any point before the match as long as they have been on the team’s roster for more than 7 days. 

More high schoolers than ever are picking up their headsets and overpriced graphics cards. Matches can be done anytime, anywhere, and with practically any sort of game. Who knows- it may even be the future of sports.