By Jason Parker
February 26, 2020
Esports is growing across North America. We’re glad to see that it’s taking over in our education systems. Mississippi is getting on the bandwagon so that esports athletes can battle with players with the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA).
It all began with the MHSAA looking for ways to involve more students in activities. Esports is that key. Through the MHSAA, esports in Mississippi have been legitimized to give them both the attention and support they deserve.
We talk about PlayVS a lot around here, it seems. PlayVS, the largest gaming league in the country, claims to have a waiting list of over 13,000 schools that want to join. But the MHSAA is going to begin their second year of state-sanctioned esports, and that’s brilliant.
Ryne Bankston, esports coach at Oxford High School in Mississippi, spoke about this recently. “Our school district is constantly looking to provide opportunities for kids to engage and represent the school in a positive way. They recognized that this was one of those, and they’ve been on board.”
They don’t have an arena to compete in but use the computer lab at Oxford High School, where they compete in esports. Perhaps it sounds peculiar to older generations in the school system, but esports is worth a tremendous amount of money now.
Once a week, the Oxford High Chargers battle with other schools in their state with a tremendous level of skill and competition. It’s helping these students come together, communicate, and do something they love with a great passion, while also representing their schools.
The MHSAA now learns what many already did: Esports can become the largest sports program at any school that features it. Though only 18 states allow for state-sanctioned esports, it must start somewhere.
It sounds like Oxford High School is taking it seriously, though. They record their matches and watch them back later. Tape watching is an important part of growing as an athlete and figuring out what went right and wrong.
Just because they aren’t running across a court all afternoon, they still practice at school and home. They take it seriously and find pride in their town and school.
Just being good isn’t enough, though. The players must be calm, work together, and avoid being salty and tilted. Getting angry at a peak moment, no matter what Ninja says isn’t such a great idea. You can grow and compete without getting furious at a loss.
These students, instead, look at the tapes, figure out how to improve, and implement it. We hope that leads to great success in the high school and college levels. The Mississippi esports season officially started on February 17. We can’t wait to hear what goes down!