I Paused My Game To Be Here!

As the Esports Club started to gain popularity, they were given new competition opportunities and began to charge into online battles.


Sebastian Penagos Sandoval

Sophomore Chhaya Sou, sophomore Brian Pham, and junior Christopher Danh compete in a game of League of Legends, an online MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game that pits players against each other as they attempt to destroy their enemy’s base. The esports club hosts weekly competitions, where members compete against teams from other schools.“It’s been a really fun time,” Pham said. “You get to play games with good friends, meet friends, and be a little bit more competitive, unlike other clubs.”

As the new school year brings plenty of new clubs to Rock Ridge, Esports Club is an extracurricular that stands out from the rest. Esports allows students to share their passion for video games with one another through fun games, tournaments, and competitions. The club is sponsored by math and computer math teacher Logan Flannigan who joined Rock Ridge High this year. “I love esports, I’ve been following it for about 15 years now,” Flannigan said.  “It’s a big passion of mine.” 

As the club continues to grow, they plan on reaching more players around the school to join their team and find others who enjoy the sport as well. 

Flannigan acts as a coach for his students and teaches them how to play and win games. Due to his dedication, the esports team has grown. “It’s been relatively small these past few years,” senior Donovan Nguyen, a member of the professional team for esports, said. “This year [the club has doubled] its size and we actually have a competitive team this year.” 

Currently, the Esports Club is meeting during gray days on Fridays during the activity block. They meet in room 1212 and host games  such as Minecraft, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros. During competitions, however, they only host two games: League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. 

In order to play, each player must pay at least $75 to enter the tournament. On Nov. 15, the Esports Club competed in their sixth competition against another school. As the students participated in a game of League of Legends, they had Flannigan to guide them along the way. Not only did they have the help of Flannigan, but also they had their competition team leader junior Christopher Danh.  “I usually help them with what they can improve on,” Danh said. “[I do] what [I] can do to help, kind of like a coach.”

As the Esports Club continues to develop, sophomore Josh Bell rejoined for his second year because of the club’s positive qualities. “It’s competitive gameplay, and seeing the skill of other people, testing your skill against other people, gives me a sort of joy,” sophomore Josh Bell said. “When you play games a lot, sometimes you want to fight against a certain set of people with a certain type of skill as you. That’s what brought me in.”  

Sophomore Brian Pham, a member of the League of Legends competition team, felt that through esports, students can develop friendships without having much gaming experience.“The best moments [are] when we actually just play together [and] have fun,” Pham said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s too competitive or not, we’re always there for each other, we always have our [teammates’] backs.”

Even though some people may not be perfect players, Pham explains that students still help each other during matches. “If we make a mistake, we’re not going to blame each other for it, [we’re] just going to help each other, aid each other, and we’ll get better as a team,” Pham said.

Although sophomore Nitya Matcha may not be a part of the competitive team, she still experiences the other qualities of the Esports Club. “I think my favorite part is playing in person because if it was online, I feel like we wouldn’t really get the team bonding like we do,” Matcha said.  “Since we play in the school, it’s more fun.”