September/October 2019 - 38

they understood why we wanted esports. "
A sport means physical activity to some, but Thompson
sees it as competition. He wants letterwinner jackets for
his teams. He brought in semipro players for talks. While
his players didn't have to hit the weight room, Thompson
worked with them on posture and stiff joints with stretches.
He even had a player land on the esports disabled list.
" One of my players broke his thumb playing, " said
Thompson, who spent 20 years as an engineer. " He was
doing marathon runs of Rocket League, so he was out for
several weeks with a microfracture. "
Jones, who also participates in Future Business Leaders
of America, said there were three practices a week. One of
those days was allotted for players to work on weak points
in their games after critiques from teammates. No one took
criticism harshly. Instead, they worked on improving their
game, just like an athletic team.
After one season, interest has sprouted across Alabama
in the possibility of staging a championship at a neutral
site. Chou has been in touch with a Dave & Busters in
Huntsville that has an esports arena, an arcade/esports
venue in Opelika, groups in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa,
and a party in Selma that's interested in converting an old
Blockbuster store to an esports arena.
" We're very excited, " Chou said. " We think it's going to
be a growing activity for our association. We think it will
grow by leaps and bounds the next few years. "
38 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019
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September/October 2019

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