League of Legends, or “League” for short, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). The game requires teams to compete in matches, lasting anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes on average. In each game mode, teams work together to achieve a victory condition, typically destroying the core building (called the Nexus) in the enemy team’s base after bypassing a line of defensive structures called turrets, or towers. Rocket League, the other GHSA sanctioned esport, is a virtual vehicular soccer game. Of the two, it is more like your typical sport, where the goal is to get the ball in the net. Think soccer, but with rocket-powered RC cars.
Both games involve multiple players, require teamwork, skill, critical thinking, practice and prep.
Can we expect esports to boom at the high school level?
The Skinny: What is a parent to say when their kid comes home asking to join a video game team at their high school? The question might cause some strange looks from certain parents. But according to Anna Cannon, the mother of Colquitt County esports player Giles Gannon, that should not be the case.
“It’s teamwork; it’s talking to one another; it’s communicating,” said Cannon, who teaches English at Colquitt County. “I think a lot of the other teachers have seen just how it’s given an opportunity to so many of these kids who aren't on regular sports teams, and they see that (the players) are excited about it.”
So what benefits has Anna Cannon noticed from her son’s participation?
Cannon: "For starters, he has made all kinds of friends who probably they never would have come together. And then you watch their matches with other schools they're playing against across the state. It's so interesting because they're all sitting there and they're communicating — 'You do this and you take that guy and watch out for so-and-so.' So they're strategizing. They're coming up with a plan, and they're communicating. And they get loud, but it's an exciting kind of loud. It's really neat to see they just get really excited about it.
“You just have to tell people, ‘Look, they're using their brains; they're communicating; they're coming up with a plan and a strategy. It's teamwork. It's talking to one another and communicating.’ So the naysayers ... they're coming around.
“Esports is only growing. I really do not think it's going away. And colleges are getting into it and offering scholarships now. I just think it's probably here to stay unless we just want to go backward. (Giles) has matured so much. The way he speaks now after esports. He communicates very well. That’s one thing I have noticed since he joined esports.”
AT ISSUE: esports
• Travis Noland, Oconee football coach
• Penny Pitts Mitchell, GHSA esports director
• Lucas Bailey, Georgia State esports coach
• Ashely Hodge, Colquitt County SuperCoach
• Anna Cannon, esports player's mom
» MORE: Previous topics