In the past couple of years, eSports, short for electronic sports, has become increasingly popular. eSports is a form of competitive gaming between individuals or teams.
eSports as a profession has been an overwhelmingly male dominated field. In the gaming world, females are catching up. In an article written by the Entertainment Software Association, about 48% of gamers identify as women and 52% identify as male.
Although there are many popular female gamer content creators, only a small percentage of professional eSports players are female.
Member of the Marian eSports club, sophomore Ava Mueller, said “girls are generally more judged for playing video games over guys. For guys, it’s very normal and almost expected, but for girls it’s seen as nerdy and sometimes weird.”
With the rise of the eSports industry as a whole, women have become more interested in playing video games professionally.
However, with the lack of female role models and sexism female gamers often face, many women have felt discouraged from entering the professional gaming scene.
Senior Chloe Parsons, Marian eSports club member, said,”I’ve never wanted to go pro, but I wish there were more role models in pro eSports so more girls felt like they could go into it.”
In a 2021 survey conducted by Reach3, 900 girl gamers from the U.S., China and Germany were interviewed. 77% of those women say they have experienced discrimination, such as gender-specific insults and inappropriate sexual comments.
Parsons is no stranger to people making rude comments towards her online. “This guy was like ‘omg are you a girl?’ and [the guy] started showing off, and when I didn’t respond, he started cursing me out.”
ESports also offers college scholarships. However, 90% of these scholarships are awarded to men, according to a study done by apnews.com.
Though, when eSports coaches do seek out players, they look at player’s ratings and how they treat their teammates, not at the gender of the player.
The majority of eSports scholarships range from $500 to $8,000, according to the NCSA (National College Scouting Association). However, academic requirements may vary from school to school.
College eSports provides opportunities for those who may not be eligible for professional leagues, or for those who do not want to pursue a professional eSports career but still want to compete.
Prospective players are recruited by various eSports coaches across the nation to fill out recruitment forms including information like game of interest, hours played per week of game, game ID, primary and secondary roles, and a highlight reel of their best plays in game. If they make the cut, the players are then invited to try out for the college team. But, many college campuses allow tryouts whether or not a player was recruited.
Nebraska colleges, such as University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Midland University, University of Nebraska-Kearney and University of Nebraska-Omaha, have eSports teams.
Midland University (Fremont, NE) was one of the first colleges to consider having an eSports team, and is a founding member of the Nebraska Association of College eSports (NACE). Midland competed in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and placed first and second for Overwatch and League of Legends.
Marian has its very own eSports club led by Mr. Tim Barth. The eSports club competes in Super Smash Bros and Rocket league in the fall, Mario Kart in the winter, and Super Smash Bros and possibly Clash Royale in the spring.
The eSports club usually has virtual matches every Tuesday against teams such as Skutt, Gretna and other small town Nebraska teams.
They meet every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m, and if interested, students can email Barth and start attending meetings.