Football, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, and… Rocket League?

Thoughts on Wilkes’ upcoming esports team


Editor’s Note: Morgan Steiner is a member of Games and Media. 

Wilkes University’s Division III Athletics Department is expanding. Starting this fall, Wilkes will be offering esports, or competitive video gaming, in addition to our already established athletic programs. 

Bringing an esports program to Wilkes makes sense. Our rival, King’s College, has a well established program and so do many other colleges across Northeast Pennsylvania. That said, I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve noticed an on-campus demand for e-sports. At Games and Media Club this year, we rarely played video games, and when we did, popular esports games were not preferred by the club. 

Even though demand hasn’t been very high, esports is still an exciting development. Often, smaller schools lack these opportunities and programs. I can see Wilkes’ esports team becoming very popular after a trial run this year. 

As a long-time gamer, I’m very excited to see an esports team finally make it to Wilkes. I wish the options were a little more expansive, but I understand why we’re starting out with the four that we are. Rocket League, Overwatch, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros are the quintessential Esports games. 

Wilkes is starting small with the staples. Nearly every program in the country plays these games. Some of the best varsity esports programs in the country include games like Hearthstone, Fortnite, Data 2 and Starcraft 2. Personally, the lack of options prevents me from playing. All of the games we offer are popular, but there are so many other options that would open up our esports teams to more players. 

I was able to take a look at the gaming terminals at Monday’s “Evening with Esports” event in the McHale Athletic Center. According to the esports website, there are going to be 10 of them. Each setup is fully equipped with Logitech gear. 

Most gamers have logitech set-ups, though, probably not as nice as the ones Wilkes is providing for the esports team. Except for the dual-monitors, I feel like these are familiar set-ups for most gamers. I know so many people with custom-built PCs that look very similar to the ones Wilkes will be using for the program. 

The Games and Media Club hasn’t been widely involved with the creation of the esports team here on campus, but we have been buzzing about it. On occasion, this semester’s meetings would lapse into discussions questioning where they would put this and what games would we play.

Now, all this has been answered and members of the club, and players across the campus community, just have to wait for the fall semester.