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The school’s new Grade 6 – 8 gaming club is o  to an auspicious start
Practice makes perfect for members of the Grade 6–8 gaming club
It’s the end of school on the  rst day of Fall Break 2017, and room 306 in the Stroth Center is full of kids in eager anticipation. On the whiteboard is a long list of video
games – an un ltered result of a previously-gathered wish list – that will serve as the basis for student participation in the FIS eSports Gaming Club.
Upper School counselor and FIS eSports Gaming Club Advisor, Je  Kalas, presents the club’s guidelines to the audience of roughly 30 students in Grades 6-8, before moving on to the day’s action item: elect three games to play in 2017. Each student has one vote, and voting is public by show of hands. Mr. Kalas reads each game title on the board and openly checks it for age appropriateness. Games rated above 12+ by Common Sense Media are eliminated: students groan loudly as League of Legends, rated 14+, is crossed out, but approved just as noisily when Minecraft remains eligible for a vote.
Multiplayer gaming may evoke images of daylight-deprived computer nerds who never moved out of their parents’
18 FIS World October 2017
basements but today’s eSports reality has little to do with nerdiness. These days, eSports, a term coined in the 1990s to describe video game competitions where players compete against each other online or via LANs (local area networks), comes complete with spectators, major leagues, fan clubs, global tournaments, advertising sponsorships, and elite pros with a celebrity status that “casual” players aspire to. High schools in Sweden now o er eSports programs alongside the arts and sciences, while a growing number of North American universities o er varsity programs and scholarships to promising eSports’ talent.
eSports is rapidly gaining traction as a spectator sport, too, and major sports clubs, media companies and business investors have taken out early stakes in a  eld regarded as the golden growth frontier of spectator sports. A 2017 report estimated the top 15 eSports players earn anywhere from $500,000 to upwards of $2.3 million. This is far from the professional sports leagues of a Cristiano Ronaldo or LeBron James, but nothing to sco  at either, especially in a  eld that is just getting started. Celebrity gamer Lee

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