Agardians Esports team loads into action

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Amishi Chandra

As the first esports team in FUHSD, the Asgardians’ overall goal is to make esports a more accessible activity for Lynbrook students and serve as a model of inclusivity for other FUHSD schools to follow.

Amishi Chandra

On Sept. 7, the Asgardians logged onto video game servers as Lynbrook and FUHSD’s first esports team. For their debut season, selected students are competing in tournaments in the categories of chess, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros., making a new name for themselves in the gaming community while fostering friendships. 

Chemistry teacher Lester Leung and technician Allen Chan created the Asgardians team to foster a community in which interested students can thrive and pursue their gaming passions competitively. All three sports are part of the High School Esports League, which allows them to play against other high school teams throughout the nation. 

“The majority of our students are not on a sports team or in an honor society,” Leung said. “There is this huge untapped hobby that we can turn into a school activity where students can work as a team and collaborate, as well as learn to deal with failure.”

Teams consist of six players for chess, four for Super Smash Bros. and five for League of Legends. Tryouts to become a general member of the team lasted over a period of two days, with the contents of each day depending on the sport played. Advisers Leung and Chan, as well as senior Janet He executed test rounds for participants based on either chess, League of Legends or Super Smash Bros., with criteria for qualification varying based on sport. Chess consisted of both three and ten minute rounds, while League of Legends involved one on one games and Super Smash Bros. had a more tournament style organization, with each individual playing against each other at least once. Organizers sought out students with both skill and the ability to operate under pressure, similar to the tryout procedure for most sports. Selected athletes were further trained during a one-week long preseason, which consisted of practice games against other schools. 

Each team is led by a captain, who ensures that practice runs smoothly and trains teammates to help improve on their weaknesses. Captains go through a rigorous selection process during which they compete against fellow members to win the highest number of games possible. The advisers schedule the teams’ games and establish that every player is considerate of each other and maintains good sportsmanship. 

“We try to include as many students as possible,” team manager and senior Janet He said. “We want to be a community even though it is a competitive team, with people always learning from each other.”

Each team has a distinct method to reflect on mistakes and improve strategy. Chess captain and sophomore Leo Jiang plans instructional lessons to teach teammates new and advanced strategies and analyze previous games for strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, the League of Legends team records their past games so they can look over the replays to point out errors and work on team composition. Super Smash Bros. Captain Tristan Lim encourages his team to enter out-of-school competitions to gain extra practice, and also records previous matches to review.

Although esports may differ from the typical definition of a sport due to its limited physical movement, Leung justifies that the competitive environment and sense of community built around gaming makes esports a valuable, true sport just like any other. In an effort to merge the esports community with other existing sports on campus, team organizers plan to have a traditional featuring performance at the upcoming Homecoming rally. 

“They are building a community and have the same amount of time commitment as a typical sports team,” Leung said. “They have the same feelings of frustration when it comes to loss and the same feelings of joy when they win.”

The team partakes in fall and spring seasons, each 13 weeks long, unlike most sports which usually last one season. The team has come out strong during their ongoing first season, with a winning streak in events such as Super Smash Bros., whereas chess has won eight of ten matches and League of Legends has been victorious in one of two.  For their spring season, they hope to recruit more players and add other games to their lineup, but the overall goal is to make esports a more accessible activity for Lynbrook students and serve as a model of inclusivity for other FUHSD schools to follow. 

“I want students who feel disenfranchised to feel like they have a place and a team that they can compete on,” Leung said. “I’m excited for students to find a thread in common with each other and have fun while having the confidence to express themselves, because they now have that avenue.”