Video gaming has become an official high school sport in Utah.
“What we are doing here today in Utah is going to become a national model and show every other state how to do it,” Bob Sorenson of iTEAM USA, one of the groups behind the initiative, said.
State Sen. Daniel Thatcher helped organise the effort, spearheaded by iTEAM USA and PlayVS, to give students a chance at what is quickly becoming a cutting edge sport.
“It will open up more opportunities for our students. What I want the kids to know is there is a career in this,” Joel Marquez, a computer science education specialist with the Utah Department of Education, said.
“Students are the winners. Esports is the gate to I.T. [information technology] and C.S. [computer science]. It gives students a connection and a different view of tech,” Sorenson said.
Organisers believe it will help prepare students to join the workforce in many ways.
“There is a stigma with gamers. An anti-social stigma. I’ve seen 250 students come together of all different genres and become friends and have fun doing this. That created a place of belonging for them,” Marquez said.