It was nearly a decade ago, sitting in my classroom, when the importance of esports in high school first occurred to me. I held a student back. He’d been troublesome as usual that day. His work hadn’t been done, he was actively not taking notes, and had missed his retest window. I wanted to figure out what the deal was, what I needed to consider in order to help him find the motivation to excel. After all, it wasn’t a one-time occurrence; he was failing nearly all of his classes.

“I’m competitive,” he admitted after a few minutes. “I don’t like those games though,” he added when I did what any high school teacher would do and suggested basketball or football or tennis or soccer, as if he hadn’t thought of those himself already.

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“Then what?” I pressed. “What is your game? What is it that you get fired up about?” His answer was video games.

Video games were a waste of time and gamers are delinquents and social misfits. That’s what the media was telling us all in the early twenty-teens. My youth was spent as a gamer–Dungeons and Dragons and Live-Action Role Playing Games, and yes, the now-retro classics on Nintendo. I was competitive too, but with team activities. I spent a number of years before that playing World of Warcraft. I was, even in that moment, spending my evenings practicing League of Legends in order to compete that very weekend in an online tournament. I had no chance of winning, because a few teams had players from the Collegiate League who were using my forum’s little weekend tournament as a grinding and practice space between matches in their regular league.

About the Author:

Claudia Carranza was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. She’s an avid gamer, having played all manner of table top and digital video games since childhood. Mother of one, she’s proud to pass on the gaming tradition to her daughter by being terrible at Assassin’s Creed but being decent at cosplaying. She has taught for nearly ten years and is currently teaching mathematics and sponsoring the esports and video game club at La Feria High School.