Park esports introducing new games for 2022-23 recruitment


Esports and video games, in general, have become more popular throughout the world. Park’s esports team has been part of that movement for four seasons, competing out of the Parkade Battlegrounds in the underground.

“The bigger esports gets in the collegiate space and the scholastic space; the better for everyone as more and more people buy-in,” said Adam Farm, Park esports head coach. “I think it’s going to grow much more rapidly, especially when high schools start picking it up.”

According to Harvard International Review esports are, “…video games that are played in a highly organized competitive environment. These games can range from popular, team-oriented multiplayer online battle arenas, to single player first person shooters, to survival battle royales, to virtual reconstructions of physical sports.”

Farm has been part of the local esports movement both collegiately and in high schools. He described esports as “a multi-player competitive video game.”

The esports program at Park currently competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Valorant and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With 14 players on the roster, Park’s team is looking to grow its esports program to include more players and more games.

Farm said he is hoping to introduce more mainstream games such as Call of Duty, Apex Legends, Halo, Rainbow Six Siege and Fortnite. In addition to those games, Farm would welcome recruits who play sports-based video games such as FIFA, NBA 2K and Madden.

As his first year at Park concludes, Farm sees the esports team as a community that presents students with the opportunity to compete in non-traditional college athletics.

“We’re not super exclusive at Park. We’re not trying to look for the best of the best. We just want to give a really good community to those that want to find it or feel like other communities don’t fit for them.”

Farm said that a boost in recruitment would allow his program to implement a varsity and junior varsity setup for next year.

At Park, Farm said esports players can expect two days of practice before playing the match. After the match, players will review their performance before returning to practice.

“If players have the desire to compete, the desire to improve and the willingness to take a more serious approach to the games they play at home, then Park’s probably a right fit for them,” Farm said.

Farm said there are scholarships available. The monetary amount varies based on in-game skill, academic performance and an individual’s financial situation.

Since not enough schools have esports to participate in the NAIA or NCAA, collegiate esports is governed by the Kansas City-based National Association of Collegiate Esports. The esports season lasts all year. Tournaments run for eight to 10 weeks.

For those that don’t want to make a commitment to the team, the Parkade is still open 24/7 for recreational play.