Esports is back in students’ stream

Quin Norris, Sports Editor

 With the spring semester starting back up, this also means the return of the UNA eSports, a gaming club on campus.

 The club has wasted no time getting back into the swing of competition. 

 “So we had our first tournament on Friday, January 9th,” said Ethan Hubbard, UNA sophomore. “We have been scrimmaging all break, but that was our first tournament.”

In the tournament, the club played against schools like the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), University of North Carolina (UNC), Colorado University and Auburn University (AU). 

“This tournament did not really count for much of anything, but it was strong competition like what we will be playing against in the CCL,” Hubbard said. “We did not do as well as we wanted to going 2-4, but I do believe we will get better from this experience.” 

The team has had an expansion into a better league this year known as the CCL, which means tournaments will be lined up all spring for the team to compete in. 

 “Competition is a big thing for us, especially since we have a lot of new teams,” Hubbard said. “Last year was the first year for Call of Duty, Rainbow Six and some other games. Call of Duty did very well ranking 33rd in Tespa. We will be playing in a new league this year with tougher competition.”

Hubbard said their mindset this season is not about placement but instead, setting up the future. 

“We are working on getting scholarships for the guys, developing good practice habits and having a good time,” Hubbard said.

The great thing about the eSports team is that they not only compete on behalf of the university, but also use their platform as an opportunity to help with fundraising. 

 “With fundraising for charity we are planning on doing an event in conjunction with the inter fraternity council members like Pike, Kappa Sig and ATO to raise money for the charity of their choice,” said UNA sophomore Zane Mooney. “However, all of this is pending on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Still aware that there is a pandemic taking place, eSports is implementing many health precautions to ensure its members are kept safe.

“We have been making sure we check the guys temperatures before they enter the building for events along with making sure we are socially distanced inside the building,” Mooney said. “We mainly use the guidelines of the University when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of our teammates and the Florence community around us.” 

However, the pandemic has not really affected the way the club practices.

“With our group competing in a virtual setting, I do not really think much on how the pandemic is messing with things,” Hubbard said. “I can clearly see the impact it is having on large scale events, but the day to day interactions of the team has not changed to much since I joined.

For anyone intersted in joining eSports, the club is in a still showing potential growth. 

“So we add and dismiss teams at the beginning of every fall,” Mooney said. “However, we do have the possibility of adding a new set of rosters to a game. Say for instance League of Legends might get a new team as we already have a purple and gold team and now are adding a grey team.” 

The big event down the pipeline for the eSports team is an event called “The Battle for Bama.” In this event, all the college eSports teams in the state of Alabama will come together to compete for bragging rights over the state for one year. 

The hopeful end goal of the event would be to host it in Flowers Hall for all the students of the University to show up and show out for UNA’s club while they competed. 

Every game except for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Tekken 7 and Rainbow Six Siege is actively competing in a league or tournament.

In order to watch the team compete, you can go to where they will be live any time they are competing, or in some cases practicing.