While some athletes at Anacortes High School prepare for matches out on the football field or in the gym, some are preparing in front of computer or television screens.
A new club at Anacortes High School aims to bring those who play video games together to compete against other high school gamers across the country.
The club, which focuses on esports — competitive video gaming — started meeting in the last few months and brought in 45 people to its second meeting.
The club is thanks to sophomores Mason Bakke and John Collins, who say the possibilities are endless when it comes to esports leagues.
They said they are excited to see so many other people are interested.
“We were astounded with the support,” Collins said.
They said they would like to have a club member playing in a competition every day. While many of the sports are played via computer, others are played on game consoles from Xbox and PlayStation.
The school will also host its own Twitch channel, which will allow viewers to watch a livestream of the game.
The competitions can lead to scholarships, Bakke said.
The players who do well can battle up higher and higher in national rankings.
It can even lead to a career.
There are athletes who have sponsorships and compete at a professional level, Collins said.
There is also more of a variety in esports, Collins said.
There is something for everyone because there are so many different games.
“People can try it out and see what they like,” he said.
Bakke said he likes to play “Overwatch,” “Rainbow Six Siege” and “League of Legends,” while Collins enjoys “Overwatch,” “Rainbow Six Siege” and “osu!”
This type of sport also allows players to keep practicing and growing their skills to get better and better, Bakke said.
The club recently teamed up with the Anacortes High School broadcast club to broadcast a “Mario Kart” tournament during Homecoming week.
They also recently hosted a professional in the esports world, who gave them advice about getting started.
Sarah Kneller originally worked as a producer and production manager for several sports networks, where she started learning more about the world of esports.
She helped grow the broadcasting of esports and led broadcasts that reached more than 42 million viewers, according to her website.
“This is an innovative, fun group,” she said.
She said the best advice she can give the budding group is to not be afraid to fail.
In fact, they should expect to fail at first, she said. That’s how they will learn and continue to grow.
“They will have gained a valuable data set that will help them succeed the next time,” she said.