Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 26

The SCAD esports arena, where
its varsity teams compete against
universities from across the nation, is
located in the school's student center
and includes comfortable seating for
spectators.

COURTESY SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN

'I was overjoyed at
our win in 2019-
I'd relive it over
and over again,
if I could!'
-Tristan Warren, Pickens High
School Dragons team member

Continued from page 24

Unlike many physical sports, esports has both
fall and spring seasons, with a champion and runnerup declared. Teams have practice schedules; train
for endurance, stamina and focus; and practice and
compete under the watchful eyes of coaches. They do
not play realistic, first-person shooting games.
" It's important to us that we treat this like any
other [sanctioned] sport or activity, " Anderson says.
" They are building leadership skills, working on communication and getting involved with each other and
the sport. "
Esports also opens the world of sports and competition to teens who can't or don't want to participate in physical sports.
" It gives nontraditional athletes the chance to be
part of a team and have a coach. They may have never
had the opportunity to do that before, " Anderson says.
GHSA teams participate in Rocket League, in
which players compete in a virtual soccer match
using rocket-powered cars, or League of Legends, an
arena battle game in which five " champions " work
together as a team to battle common enemies and
take the enemy's base. They also can play SMITE, a
mythology-based battle game developed by Hi-Rez
studios in Alpharetta.
Competitions are hosted and monitored by
PlayVS, a Los Angeles-based platform, in order to
ensure a safe environment, says Andrew Greenberg,
executive director of the Georgia Game Developers Association in Suwanee and head of the Georgia
Esports League, which helps with competitions.
" You know who you're playing, " he says.

26

Georgia Magazine

January 2021

COURTESY WIL NIX

Nontraditional sport fosters
traditional skills

From left, Pickens High School Dragons team members Tristan Warren, Carter
Logan and captain Mason Watkins were 2019 state Rocket League Champions.

Go Dragons!
Two of the three state championships in Rocket League are held by
the Pickens High School Dragons in Jasper. Coach Wil Nix has a regular
practice schedule for team members and requires them to maintain good
grades to be eligible to participate. Over the last two years, he has had
a wide range of players on his teams, including the county's highestachieving academic students and football and baseball players seeking a
different competition field. The combination has been successful.
" It's a team-coordinated effort, " Nix says. " Some of my best athletes
played varsity in [traditional] team sports. They are used to working together. "
Greenberg has seen that collaboration many times. Traditional
athletes who play virtual versions of their sports have often learned game
strategy and how to implement it better than players who haven't.
" The teamwork component is so big, " he says. " One player can't carry
the team. "
High school esports teams often compete against one another from



Georgia Magazine - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22A
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22B
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22C
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 22D
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2021 - Cover4
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