Tallahassee Community College has become one of many schools in the nation to bring online gaming to its campus.
However, only two colleges in Florida are offering Esports, including TCC. The first college is Florida Gateway College in Lake City, which is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Esports is a form of virtual competition involving video games. Esports can be both a multi-player and single-person competitive game. Esports is designed to collaborate and create illusions. Students are expected to build strengths in problem-solving, communication and teamwork skills.
Last year, TCC introduced Esports as a club to get students that were interested involved. With a significant volume of student participants, it was successful enough to start the process of becoming an official NJCCA member and enough funding to create a space for online gaming.
Caleb Walker, a 33-year-old student, is amazed at how much the world has changed its viewpoints on gaming, especially for schools. He wishes he would’ve had the same opportunities students have now for Esports.
“I remember getting my Gameboy taken away for playing Mario Brothers in class,” Walker said. “My teachers used to say I couldn’t play video games all my life. It’s not acceptable. Now I am in a generation where playing video games in school is encouraged and well respected. I was ahead of my time.”
Officials want peers and critics to know students learn more than just playing video games. They learn other advantages, such as event planning and graphic design, which can be useful in the media field.
Chuck Moore, the director of athletics, wants to help give students a chance to reach their dreams and interests despise the differences some students might not be used to.
“The biggest goal is to offer something else, for our students to pursue their interests, dreams and daily activities that they like,” Moore said. “I think adding those broad types of activities for our students is what makes us special. That’s what differentiates us from others.”
Brett Rutherford, an assistant for athletics and communications, wants students to know everyone is encouraged to come to interest meetings to learn more or watch members play. He also hopes that Esports will become a real sport.
“I would like to see Esports recognized as a true sport. I see the passion and capabilities in the students that are involved,” Rutherford said. “There is potential there.”
To qualify for the team, students must be enrolled at TCC and have a 2.0 GPA. For more information, students can visit the Tallahassee Community College website or stop by the sports facility to talk to the Esports coach at TCC.