By: Jonathan “Walker” Speer
Recently, Shenandoah University has started to become an epicenter of Esports at the collegiate level, now meet the faculty member leading the charge.
Dr. Gawrysiak is the Director of Esports and Sport Management here at Shenandoah.
When asked about how he got into Esports, Dr. Gawrysiak responded in a way that is very similar to a lot of people. He said, “Playing the original Halo on the Xbox in high school and college.” He also said “When I was in high school, I had a bag with my Xbox, all the cables and extra controllers. And then I had this 27-inch tube tv that I would take to my friend’s house so I would have my own screen to look at instead of the split screen stuff because I couldn’t see anything.”
I would highly recommend playing Halo on split screen with a friend using a tv made before 2008 to anyone who hasn’t had that joy yet.
When asked about bringing Esports to Shenandoah, Dr. Gawrysiak said “I kind of just threw the idea out there almost as a joke and when I made a presentation to President. Fitzsimmons, she stopped me asked me to explain it a bit more.” He also said, “she told me that nothing exists until you start it and I started designing the courses based off really sport management and business courses.”
Right now, the new Esports arena is near completion in the armory. When asked about when the grand opening would be, he said “we’ll have our grand opening sometime this semester or possibly early in the spring.”
When asked about what other colleges and universities are doing with Esports, Dr. Gawrysiak said “right now, there are only three schools in the U.S. that offer a major in Esports and Shenandoah is the only one that offers a multi-track major. Some of the different tracks are management and media and communication.”
The three main games played by the Esports team here at Shenandoah are massive titles but probably not the games you are thinking of. If you picked Rocket League, Overwatch, and League of Legends. Dr. Gawrysiak said that “All the games are played on PC but that you can play a game like Rocket League with an Xbox or PS4 controller.”
When asked about if more games would be added, Dr. Gawrysiak said this, “Once the arena is finished and the Nintendo Switches come in, we’re going to play Super Smash Bros. and add a Smash team.”
You can follow the Esports team here: