Wareham resident establishes competitive video gaming team

By Andrea Ray | Mar 09, 2018
Photo by: Andrea Ray Emo Schiappa (center) founded Old Rochester's new "egaming" team, after initially considering the idea to be just a joke.

High school sports run the gamut, from basketball, to cross-country, to swimming, football and – videogaming?

No, that's not a typo. A competitive high school video gaming team is now a reality, thanks to Wareham resident Emo Schiappa.

Schiappa attends Old Rochester Regional High School as a school choice student. School choice, a state program, allows students to attend schools in out-of-town districts.

The senior, coincidentally given the senior superlative title of "Best Gamer," said that he originally hadn't considered a competitive video gaming team to become a possibility at the school.

"Actually, it started as a joke," he said. "My friends and I played a lot of video games. We used to joke around—'Hey, we're pretty good at this, we should be a sports team.'"

Then, he discovered the High School Esports League. The league aims to promote videogaming as a legitimate varsity sport at high schools across the country. The group does that by connecting high school gamers across the U.S. for competitions.

Schiappa was encouraged. "Maybe this could be a real thing," he thought about starting a high school team.

Schiappa approached MJ Linane, the school's technology teacher, about sponsoring the team. In short order, an egaming team was born.

Egaming leagues have their own specific rules. In the High School Esports League, team members, of which there are five, pick the video game of their choice. They can pick from eight different options, including "Overwatch," "Hearthstone," "Call of Duty: World War II," and "Super Smash Bros."

The players then go head-to-head against other egaming teams.

The High School Esports League espouses the many benefits of high school egaming on its website. Among them are increased teamwork and team building skills, a number of scholarship opportunities offered through the league, and a pathway into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, due to computer and video game technology.

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