From left, senior Riley Barron of Roswell, senior Zhiyang Shu of China, senior David Woods of Miami, junior Ben Fisher of Clayton and senior Maik Murenzi of Rwanda compete as a team playing League of Legends for TFS Esports. (Nate Roys/TFS Advancement Intern)
Competitive gaming in the form of electronic sports is coming to Tallulah Falls School as an official Georgia High School Association activity.
TFS is starting with 25 student-players, meeting after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, playing League of Legends and Rocket League. League of Legends teams consists of five players while Rocket League teams consist of three players. Each school can have multiple teams compete.
According to IT Director Bryan Freeman, department personnel will support the new program, with IT Specialist Casey Barron serving as head coach for the team.
Rosters are being formed with official practices starting the week of Oct. 21 and a first competition slated for Oct. 29.
So far this year, there are 50-plus schools signed up to compete in GHSA esports, with more to come. Last year, Lambert High School won the League of Legends championship, and Pickens County High School took home the Rocket League Championship. The closest school to TFS that competes in GHSA esports is Commerce High School.
According to the GHSA website, college scholarships are available to skilled players. Currently, more than 200 colleges and universities offer scholarships for esports, totaling over $10 million.
“Starting an esports team at TFS provides opportunities for students to compete in one of the fastest-growing activities in high school,” Athletic Director Scott Neal said. “It may also open doors to enhanced further education through college scholarships. Esports is now one of those areas for our students to excel, develop life skills and be GREAT!”
Not only has esports’ popularity skyrocketed over the last few years, but it has done so in a fashion that rivals the biggest sporting event in the United States.
“The sport is exploding in popularity, with viewership of the world championships rivaling the Super Bowl,” Freeman said.
GHSA officially sanctioned esports last fall. They currently offer schools to compete in the games League of Legends, SMITE and Rocket League.