When Zach Huffman, faculty in the Computer Science department, joined The Hun School this fall he was eager to meet and connect with students. As an avid gamer himself, Mr. Huffman knew that an Esports team was exactly what Hun students needed during a year where they were spending more time at home than ever before.
“At the last school I worked at I ran the Esports team and I really saw a lot of success with that program so I just knew that was something I wanted to do when I came to Hun,” Mr. Huffman said. “While people are still playing video games recreationally, competing on an Esports team has become very popular amongst high school students.”
After taking a survey at the beginning of the year to gage students' interest, there was an overwhelming response from students who wanted to compete and play the game Overwatch. So, Mr. Huffman enrolled the team in the Garden State Esports league to begin competing.
Every Wednesday, the eight students on the team log on to compete in squad-based combat against other teams in central New Jersey. And while the team is only required to practice and compete twice a week, Mr. Huffman notes that students are always coordinating practices outside of school hours and playing together.
“The students on the team have formed a really tight bond,” he said. “They do so much more than what I require them to do. They are always meeting after hours to talk through strategy or practice together and when it comes time to compete I am just there to handle logistics and enforce good sportsmanship.”
Mr. Huffman explains that while most people who aren’t familiar with Esports may assume its recreational gaming, the competitions get pretty intense and there is a lot of strategizing that goes into each match.
“The communications skills on our team are very strong,” Mr. Huffman said. “The kids have found their groove in which they communicate really well with each other. They have even developed their own vernacular and lingo while they are in a game so that they can communicate as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
And while Hun’s esports team is currently undefeated this season, Mr. Huffman explains that this is just the beginning for the team.
“My goal is to have a lot more kids on a bunch of different teams so that we can play and compete in a lot of different games. Also, I look forward to the day where we can all be in the same room gaming together and be able to work through strategy, technique, and communication with each other.”