Esports: A Different Kind of Beast

The esports club draws students’ interest because they can meet new people and represent Woodbridge while playing their favorite video games


Celine Pham

The Woodbridge High Esports team poses in front of the camera while talking about their hilarious moments.

Within the Esports Club, there are many teams, including Valorant, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros and Rocket League. The club’s leaders organize schoolwide tournaments and also compete in the High School Esports League (HSEL). Anyone is welcome to play in the school tournaments, but in order to play in the HSEL, members have to try out for the varsity team. During tryouts for different teams, interested students play matches and are evaluated based on their performance. 

“We have some really strong teams. Teams that win first across [Orange County] and across the state. But what’s more important is meeting someone who plays the same video game as you or meeting anyone on campus who plays the same [games] as you. Just kind of meeting people. It’s a community building thing more than anything else,” science teacher and Esports Club advisor Will Buckley said. 

In 2018, Buckley helped to bring various esports teams at Woodbridge High together to be one team. Buckley decided to accept his role as the esports club advisor because of his unique experience with marching band, running track and field and also playing video games in high school. Esports is similar to other sports teams in the sense that it is competitive, but it is unique because it is on a screen rather than a field. 

“Esports is a different kind of beast because you have to understand the games themselves and what it means to be a competitive sport. So if you’re like a football coach and you don’t have any video game experience then it’s hard to understand what [scrimming] even means, what it requires. And if you’re just a video game player but you don’t know what coaching is, then you’ve missed that entire side of things,” Buckley said.

According to Dot Esports, scrimming is when an esports team plays a simulated game against another competitive team to improve their skills. Teams test new strategies in scrims so they will be ready for tournaments. The Woodbridge Esports club tries to participate in tournaments four of five times a month to try to improve their strategies as well. 

“At least for Valorant, we try to join at least one tournament weekly, usually falling on a Saturday…Right now we are mainly just practicing…for the main tournaments coming up…We usually just play and practice…When we lose, we learn from our mistakes [and] we come back stronger,” senior Josiah Soetomo said.

The team holds online meetings and boot camps to both prepare for tournaments and bond as a team. For club members, the esports club is a community building activity and a great place to meet people who also enjoy playing video games.  

“I think it’s just fun how we have…all these teams. We all hang out online, sometimes playing video games…We choose a video game that we can get a ton of people to join in, and then they all join and we play that for some time…Also…recruiting new people [at the club drive] is also a lot of fun,” senior and vice president Liam Goodemote said. 

Goodemote enjoys taking a leadership position in the club because although he does not have enough time to play the games, he can watch his peers play and then help them win, which is the club’s main goal. The club is always open to new members trying out and getting involved. 

“It’s really fun. If you’re interested or if you have a video game that you would like to mention or make competitive. [If] you have a group of friends [that] plays competitively and you want to…represent the school, absolutely, we’re always looking for more,” Buckley said.