|Fairmont High School in action|
At a recent LAN I overheard two gamers chatting.
The one said, “I realise that the MSSAis dedicated when organising events. Yet in my personal reserved opinion , I find certain factors in the guidelines to be potentially handicapping to a team performance”.
“How do they handicap performance?” replied the other.
“By having school teams shall play from schools or from other approved venues, whether their own or shared”, the first speaker replied.
“But would that not ensure that all teams are equal?”, replied the other.
“That is not the point”, replied the first speaker who went on to state, “The school's internet may be used by the hostels and careless teachers which would cause poor network performance and latency resulting in all 5 members of the team being handicapped, where as if all members were allowed to participate own residence, this could be avoided, and even if 1 or 2 members have problems with their connections, its at least not all 5 members. And to have a teacher present, why?”
Driving home from the LAN I ruminated long and hard on the conversation.
It is clear that the two gamers do not actually understand the purpose of the MWEB Inter-school online championships.
The first point is that the MSSA is attempting to get schools to see eSports as an official sport. Just as in the case of rugby, when matches are to be played, the groundsman marks the field and no other use of the field is allowed. So it is with eSports, when recognised by the school, when the games are played, only the team has use of the internet.
In fact, such is the impact of the eSports teams, that many of the schools participating in the Inter-school online league have upgraded their internet connections to help their teams.
By having the team sit at the same venue too has many benefits. Instead of gaming being relegated to bedrooms where gamers sit on the most comfortable chair in the house, have and endless supply of food and drink, and play in isolation, the team has to deal with a competition type environment.
The team is there for all to see – headmaster, educators, and fellow learners. The team becomes more visible, and becomes newsworthy. Media actually knows where to find the team in order to do articles about their performance. Through following this programme, gaming becomes far more visible to the general public.
The team also has increased possibilities to improve their game. By playing together in the same venue, the team can further develop and learn. After the game, the team can actually discuss what went right, what went wrong and what they should do in future games.
By playing in residences, gamers are relegating their game to be only a recreation.
The fact that so many top schools have bought into the system shows how well the Inter-school online championship has ticked all the boxes and has met governing body approval.
It is also essential to have an Educator present. This is an official championship. The championship is recognised by every level of government and delivers provincial and national colours.
The Educators are there to act as referees as well as to ensure that the school's brand is not harmed.
The teams are officially representing the school after all!