Sydney Spencer, A&E reporter
Esports, or electronic sports, is an up and coming type of competition featuring video games being played competitively in a tournament fashion. This new type of sports promotion has been increasing rabidly in popularity over the last few years. With the rise of things like Overwatch League, an Esports league with teams and seasons structured much like Major League Baseball, it appears to be here to stay.
Not unsurprisingly, this has led to the creation of college level competition as well. In fact, there is an up and running gaming program at JSU called Cocky Esports. Cocky Esports started three years ago and is a program that allows students to compete in tournaments to showcase their skills. This program not only gives the opportunity of participating in gaming competitively, but the chance to become the best player students can possibly be. People from all walks of life join because they enjoy gaming or to help cure their social anxiety.
I got the opportunity to speak with Christian Webb, who is one of the owners of Cocky eSports, and he provides nothing but positive information about how the program has been going, the amazing people he has met along the way, as well as what the world of competitive gaming has done for him. He has been a part of the program for two years. When asked what got him into competitive gaming Webb says, “I started out playing sports like baseball and football and once I got injured, I had to find another way to use my competitive nature.”
Webb is very proud of what he has been able to do so far in such a short period of time. What he has invested into gaming, he has been able to make back and more. Webb also adds how his team of Esports is semi-pro while most at other universities only compete on a purely collegiate level. While traveling, he explains how he takes the players to tournaments and how he may not be able to pay for their food, he is able to accommodate for their hotel rooms and entry to the tournament. Before attending the tournament, Webb will prepare all players on his team with all they need to know about the competitive gaming world.
The program does not require much experience, as there are regular practices and teams are split into different skill levels. Players attend at least one tournament a year to compete and experience the atmosphere. Webb says he started his team “not only to get people from JSU into video gaming, but to realize it can be competitive.” Jacksonville State University’s Esports program has become one of the best video gaming programs in the nation.