With the unprecedented popularity seen by gaming titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends, esports have been in the limelight like never before. Competitive gaming is no longer a fringe experience, reserved for a small, specific demographic. Esports appeal to an increasingly varied demographic, and that’s produced the first all-girl varsity esports team at Hathaway Brown (HB) in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Teacher and head coach, James Collins, formed the esports team at the all-girls private school. Collins is a transgender educator who spent time in the US Department of Education during the final term of the Obama administration.
On the surface esports may seem irrelevant when it comes to the department of education, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. “During my time in the Obama administration, we began to notice the impact that esports was having on educational institutions,” Collins said to Parentology . “Scholarships, staffing, capital investments, and student admissions were all being affected by the activities and culture of competitive video gaming.” Some high schools have already formed varsity esports teams , but this is the first all-girl esports team. And when colleges and universities across the US are boasting clubs dedicated to esports as well as including esports performance in the criteria for scholarships and admissions, educators have to take notice.
During Collins’ time with the Department of Education, they noticed something that many members within the gaming ecosystem have known to be true for many years; the gaming industry is a male-dominated field. “There is a lack of gender and other forms of diversity in esports, and that has equity and college access implications.” This lack of representation was one of the driving forces for the formation of the program. The numbers show that almost half of the nation’s gamers are women, so that concept that ladies just don’t play games is, as Collins so eloquently put it, “A myth.” They continue, “Pro esports has long minimized the value of games that women play, and we’re hoping to change some of th […]
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