Classes aren’t the only things going virtual this semester — sports are also hitting the screen.
With this semester’s college experience devoid of campus life, 5C athletic departments are still maintaining the spirit of campus play with esport intramural tournaments.
Brandon Johnson, director of intramurals, club sports and recreation at Pomona College, said they are offering intramural esports in the hopes of retaining the friendliness and fun of being a 5C student that may be missing in this online semester.
“We’re trying to present some offerings that would create friendships, community and engagement with the campus that you may not necessarily have right now as a student — that was the main reason behind it.”
Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ intramural offerings run the gamut from action and sports-based video games to quiet word games, offering Catan, Codenames, FIFA 20, Madden 20, NBA 2K20, Rocket League, Scrabble GO and Super Smash Bros.
CMS Athletics is additionally offering MLB: The Show, NHL 20, Modern Warfare, Magic: the Gathering Arena and Boggle, with participation available across gaming platforms. Students have the option of playing on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch consoles or gaming on a PC or phone.
Students are able to register alone or gather up a group of friends and sign up as a team. And for now, no tiers of talent or competition levels have been established.
“It’s really hard to divide out [participants] as an advanced player, a competitive player or a recreational player … That may not lend to perfect pairing among the groups, but hopefully it still provides a fun experience for everyone that signs up,” Johnson said.
“We’re trying to present some offerings that would create friendships, community and engagement,” -Brandon Johnson
Though the intramural e-sport program is only just beginning, those running it believe it has staying power, even if students return to campus.
“In the future when we return to campus, I do think we can help students with providing a game room and having rental games for pickup in our office,” Matthew Ryan, assistant director of recreation for CMS, said via email.
Johnson said esports “definitely” have the ability to become a regular offering for students, citing a successful Super Smash Bros. finals week de-stressor last fall.
“I could see esports being something that we offer [and] it still having an in-person component to it,” Johnson said. “I do think that would bring in a different type of participant to play intramurals than we’ve had necessarily in the past.”