With the cancellation of fall sports at NKU due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activity relating to sports on campus has been relatively peaceful throughout the 2020 fall term. There is, however, one sports organization that flourished this fall, and it is barely thought about a conventional fall sport.

The NKU esports team enjoyed an unbeaten regular season, prior to losing on Tuesday night to the Jayhawk esports Team of the University of Kansas in the National Association of Collegiate Esports Rocket League Fall Cup semi-finals.

The NKU esports team plays other schools throughout the country in a computer game known as Rocket League, a “high-powered hybrid of arcade-style soccer and automobile chaos,” according to the official Rocket League site. Like soccer, the objective remains to score more objectives than the other group to claim victory.

In addition, every member of the NKU Varsity Esports team goes by character names when playing Rocket League, rather than their real name. Some names on the group include ‘Pig’, ‘Guideline’ and ‘Rickles’.

Hunter Kolb, junior majoring in Computer system Details Innovation, acts as the captain of the NKU Varsity Esports group, which brought with it numerous responsibilities that were important to the team’s success.

” Essentially, I supervise of ensuring everyone is online for practices, tournaments, matches and whatever of that nature,” Kolb said. “I am likewise the one to get in contact with other groups about skirmishes.”

Kolb’s journey to ending up being captain of the esports group was one that included several unanticipated twists, even prior to his time at NKU. During his senior year of high school, Kolb browsed around for a Rocket League Esports group at NKU, before ultimately talking to the esports club president at NKU and signing up with the general club.

” I ended up fulfilling some individuals that played Rocket League on the [NKU] server already, and eventually we formed a team to play in a number of different competitions,” Kolb stated.

Kolb presumed the function of captain on that group, and transitioned back into the role upon the development of the NKU Varsity Esports group this fall.

Although the absence of more traditional fall sports at NKU, such as soccer, volleyball and cross country may be playing an aspect, Kolb believes that the Esports group would still be getting a heavy amount of attention around school even with those sports playing.

” I don’t know if I would necessarily put it as a result of COVID, but more so as the university program is finally taking fruition,” Kolb stated when going over the increased publicity toward the Esports group, particularly from the university’s social media accounts.

What can be associated to the impact of COVID-19 however, is the increased participation on the NKU esports Discord page, a social networking platform that permits players to interact with one another on the exact same server, along with play against one another in the exact same video games and contests.

Eric Jackman is a freshman Computer Science significant at NKU, who signed up with the Esports club on campus, and is now a member of the university esports group.

” Everything came together just as I was starting out in my first semester,” Jackman stated. “I joined the Rocket League section of the Discord server, and I saw a post for tryouts, and signed up for that.”

Jackman explained that although the idea of Rocket League is based upon a more fanatical property of “rocket-powered cars”, there is far more depth and ability that enters into the game than observers may realize.

” For example, there are little increases on the field that you have to get to be able to go quickly or to be able to fly, therefore in order to keep a constant pressure on the other team, you need to turn in and out,” Jackman stated. “One gamer might be getting increases, while another gamer is pressing forward [with the ball]”.

Kolb restated that point concerning technique, and how important it is for each member of the group to be in interaction with one another.

” What individuals don’t realize is that when you’re playing the video game, and as you are driving around the pitch, you have to take into consideration not just where all your colleagues are, but likewise where everyone else on the other team is,” Kolb said.

With the competition occurring practically through private gaming consoles, esports has ended up being a remarkable method for its members to keep in touch with other students and members during the pandemic.

” It’s been actually great to satisfy buddies through this team and be familiar with individuals, which would be hard this term,” Jackman said.

Although the NACE season has actually formally ended for the Varsity Esports team, following the loss to Kansas, the group still has matches to play in a league called ‘PlayVS’, in addition to another possible tournament, and is always actively hiring new members to sign up with the Esports Discord service and the NKU club.