Cambridge Unveils Plans for Esports Program



What a typical esports match may look like, complete with a headset and computer set.

Evan Gmahle , Staff Writer

Cambridge High School has begun plans to create an esports division of the athletics department by fall 2020.

This plan comes after the program’s implementation in other Georgia high schools, with Georgia being among five states to recognize esports as a high school sport, according to WSB-TV2.

At the school, the program is being spearheaded by Lesley Broadwell, director of the school’s athletics program. She said the growing popularity of esports nationwide prompted Georgia High School to allow the program, out of a desire to increase student participation in athletic programs.

There are currently three approved games for the program: Rocket League, Smite and League of Legends. The intention is to treat this as any other part of the athletics department, with proper teams and competitions.

The planning is still underway, however. Coaches are still being found, as is a place for team members to practice.

A major part of planning is obtaining all the required equipment to have an esports team, which is difficult. As Broadwell said, five computers costs over $13,000.

There has been excitement from some, such as Super Smash Bros. Club president Gavin Harkleroad, a junior, who “would be the first in line” to sign up.

He says much of his club would be enthusiastic about this program, which, given the club’s multiple dozen members, is a good sign for membership.

He also says the program has its place in the athletics department.

“What do athletes do?” Harkleroad said. “They train. It’s the same here.”

Junior Connor McHugh is not personally invested, and doesn’t plan to join such a program, but has plenty of friends who would.

He echoed Harkleroad’s sentiments about this being in the athletics department, saying, “video games take a lot of hand-eye coordination, practice, time and focus, and it can be just as intense as other sports.”

Esports does, however, get criticism for being “not a real sport,” especially from athletic organizations who feel it devalues what they do.

The division is intended to be finalized by fall of 2020, at which point it will begin its activities.