Champlain Shoots Onto The Scene With Varsity ESports Teams


Member of Champlain College’s Esports team. Photo credit: Champlain College Flickr.

Saline drops descend further upon azure-dyed cloth as a cacophony of raised octaves compliments the jackrabbit thump of an unwavering heart. Calloused digits dance across plastic keys as a cloaked silhouette draws their final round on an unsuspecting opponent, bringing the hairbreadth fight to an abrupt resolution. The victors of these fights are not ripped from history nor born from tales, but emerge from the screens on which their playing field resides. A virtual battleground where one is not defined by their physical limitations or prowess, but by their strategic communication. 

As the pandemic continues to disrupt many traditional sports worldwide, one category of sport has remained relatively unfazed due to its mobility and accessibility. Electronic sports, or Esports, refers to competitive gaming where players faceoff against each other in a virtual space. Trending during the early 2000s, Esports has continued to grow and expand in relation to the industry’s surge in popularity. Recognizing its potential, Champlain College established its official Esports varsity teams and Champlain College Esports (CE). Housed in Burlington, Vermont, the private school has gained recognition for its immersive gaming majors. Focusing on Valorant, Overwatch, and Rocket League, these varsity teams compete against rival college teams during matches. 

Posing a lower barrier of entry than traditional sports, Esports appeals to those looking for competitive activities in a different medium. Contrasting its deceptively passive nature, Esports shares similarities with its traditional counterpart. “Esports uses human passion and competitiveness as a vehicle for human growth” explains Christian Konczal, Champlain’s Director of Esports. Coming from a sports background in rugby, Konczal cites Champlain’s varsity team as having a similar practice schedule to his during his college years. Esports presents itself as a fun, yet demanding sport, requiring athletes to cultivate and develop team relationships, meet weekly, conduct exercises, strategize, and balance schoolwork in addition to their personal lives. 

“It’s a way for me to get together and focus on something like a club that gets me out of the house and scratches that competitive itch” recounts Valorant athlete, Sebastian Meredith (Cybersecurity, 2023). Previously involved in traditional sports, Meredith gravitated towards Esports due to his love of video games and competitive nature. Originally not considering himself exceptional at gaming, he was motivated to try out for the team upon realizing his player placement. Champlain Esports seeks to foster collaborative teams that value fun, competitiveness, and different perspectives. 

For those interested in non-competitive gaming, Champlain Esports Club is another option. As one of the largest clubs on campus, it encompasses the same welcoming and inclusive nature as its varsity teams. Despite being a late contender, Champlain Esports aims to prove itself among the titans of College Esports with its growing facility and passionate teams of gaming veterans.