Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

The Batavia Spectator

Skip to Article or Skip Sidebar
Skip to Comments or Skip Article
NEWS: Where funding lacks, BHS’s club diversity grows: Esports Club

Popular new Esports Club hosts first meeting

By Lylah Jakubiak

A new club introduced itself this week: esports. Led by Connor Legoretta, the club plans on making its debut next Wednesday with an esports team planning to follow next school year.

Esports, or Electronic sports, is a career and hobby in which people play video games such as Fortnight or Call of Duty competitively in tournaments or recreationally.

Legoretta, a new BHS teacher, hosted Esports Club’s first informational meeting last Wednesday and plans to host its meetings every other Wednesday. The club aims to give BHS students a place to play games such as SuperSmash Brothers and Mario Kart with the overarching goal of giving students, according to Legoretta, “another avenue to be social, meet other people, make some friends, and have fun at school.”

He also informed the students about the future esports team intent on starting at the beginning of the next school year.

“I think esports is huge in our community and for these kids that want something to get involved in,” Legoretta said in an interview last Wednesday.

Unfortunately for BHS’s Esports Club and team, the group is currently short on funding for equipment such as controllers and counsels. At the club’s informational meeting, Legoretta outlined the issue, stating that students will need to bring in their own equipment to satisfy the issue.

“Unfortunately for the club and team there’s going to be limitations on what we can do for at least the next two years because everything runs around money,” he said.

While the group may lack money, they don’t seem to lack interest. The district and Legoretta predicted that a maximum of 20 students would come to the first meeting; 47 came.

“The District was expecting 20 people to respond that they wanted to join. So obviously we’re beating that goal. Again, everything is on you guys,” Legoretta said to a room full of members of the new club.

Right now, the students of the club are only allowed to play SuperSmash Bros. and Mario Kart. There are a variety of rules and regulations that rule out certain games from being playable in school for BHS students. Not only do the games need to be school-appropriate, but they also have to be playable offline.

“Tech is a big issue that we’re trying to work on. There’s more to it than just connecting to the internet and unfortunately, I did not know that either. I’m very tech savvy, but there’s way more red tape to it. It’s all building up; we have to start somewhere. We’re building towards what everybody dreams of: that huge esports team that has our own room and own equipment. Unfortunately, we just have to try to get everything together right now.”

The sponsor stressed the importance of esports, too. He brought up possible scholarship and career applications of esports.

“Video games are misunderstood since it was a hobby 10-15 years ago,” he said. “There are things that we can help our students achieve, some things that nobody ever thought possible. There are a ton of avenues in esports. There are pro teams all over the country, all over the world, there’s Twitch streaming, and so many opportunities that a kid can take with video games that weren’t available years ago. We want to try to open those doors for the students that want to take it.”

Additionally, Mr. Legoretta mentioned the expansion of esports due to COVID-19.

“COVID set off esports; it’s what put esports on the map,” he said. “After its growth, we just became more and more excited to possibly bring it to Batavia.”

He’s not wrong. In 2019 before COVID-19, there were approximately 400 million viewers of professional esports. In 2024, the prediction is 580 million. Today, esports has various professional tournaments and teams all over the country.

BHS isn’t the first school in the area to start an esports club and team. IHSEA, the Illinois High School Esports Association, is a nonprofit organization that hosts tournaments for school esports groups. The BHS esports team is hoping to join the group next year and make their way to the top.

Unlike many other clubs at the high school, this club was not dreamed up by a student or sponsor. Rather, it’s been something the district has been looking into for a long while.

“The students originally brought it up after COVID and the district was always looking for somebody to help get it started,” he said. “And when the email was sent out, I kind of jumped on it. This is something we want. This is something the district wants and Dr. Smith, our principal, wants.”

Comments will have to be appoved before being posted