Decrease in COVID Activity Leads to Increase in Gamer Activity for Shenandoah Esports

by Alex Whitmer

Shenandoah’s esports program hosted its first live event of 2022 on Saturday, Feb. 26 in the esports arena. 

The Super Smash Bros tournament is being led by Dawson Golove, a junior esports management major who is collaborating with members of the varsity Super Smash Bros team to have these tournaments every Saturday at 7 p.m. 

“This is open to anybody, whether they are just wanting to try to Smash out for the first time or if they are a hardened Smash veteran,” said Golove. “We want literally anyone and everyone to come out and play.” 

Entry into the double-elimination tournament will cost $5 per person, and that money will be split 40/60, with the 60% going into the final prize pool for the players, and 40% going toward helping fund the esports program so it can organize bigger and better events.

Although turnout for the first event was only five people, the organizers were not worried and had confidence that the turnout would continue to grow. Their aim is to get around 16-24 players down the road, according to Golove. 

For both the program and the esports industry, the return of live events is a major turning point after COVID caused most events and competitions to move online. This caused the various competitive players within the communities to feel very isolated and lose that personal connection with other players and communities. The Super Smash Bros community felt the effects of this firsthand as live events are a major part of what makes the game enjoyable and competitive. 

“We lost a lot of togetherness,” said professional Smash player and varsity Super Smash Bros captain Skyla. “When there are these local events, people can actually come together and treat people like human beings again.”

This event is only the first of what is likely many more live events to come for the Shenandoah esports program. Be on the lookout for the UNO tournament on April 1, with the winner receiving a new Respawn Gaming chair. Be sure to come out for the next Super Smash Bros tournament held every Saturday at 7 p.m. in the esports arena on campus.

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