Esport becomes a man’s passion |

METROPOLIS, III.

“SPORT – a game, contest, or other pastime requiring a certain skill and generally a certain amount of physical exercise.”

This is Mr. Webster’s main definition of sport.

The second is more appropriate for this exhibition: “any pastime or fun, diversion”.

Esport might not fit the first definition, but it certainly does fit the second.

What is eSport? Pretty much what you thought it was: playing video games on a specialized “gaming” computer. Coincidentally, it is a booming billion dollar global business, with online viewership numbers for some of its biggest events rivaling and surpassing events like the World Series and the Super Bowl.

At Massac County High School, this is the focal point of a staff member’s career.

Brock Frazier is listed in the MCHS personnel directory as a “support technology” – that is, an IT support technician.

Frazier readily admits he was a high school dropout. At the behest of then MCHS Director Jason Hayes, and with the help of other MCHS cohorts, Frazier returned and earned his GED.

Several years ago, Frazier wanted to implement the eSports program at MCHS. At the time, he was a coach for the school – he has been involved in the Massac soccer program since its inception – but not an employee. After getting the GED, her persistence in the program carried a little more weight, and her pleadings with Hayes finally paid off.

“He kept telling me that these kids could get scholarships to play video games, and I kept telling him he was crazy,” said Hayes, who is now the superintendent of the Massac unit 1. “Finally, after about three years, I gave in. Find out, he was right. I was wrong about that one.

Frazier played football and soccer in high school, and that was pretty much the limit of his social contacts. They were his friends.

“If I had had something like this, I probably would have stayed (in high school),” he said.

Hayes noted that the eSports Club “offers another avenue for children who may not be particularly interested” in school or other school organizations.

This point was reiterated at the Metropolis city council meeting on November 8 when Frazier brought in two of his “lieutenants” from the eSports club. President Kaleb Rodriguez and Vice President Bruce Darnell admitted that they were not “public speakers” and that they would never have been in the spotlight without Frazier’s encouragement and the camaraderie and self-confidence developed within the group.

Hayes said the eSports Club “is helping us reach another group of kids.

“These organizations – we have sports, clubs, extracurriculars – help students do well in school. They’re there to help student learning and success – when you’re part of an organization, it motivates you to get better grades to stay eligible to do all of these things. That’s the whole point of these things; Esport is just another avenue. The more we can involve the kids, the more we can be successful with our students, ”said Hayes.

Several of Frazier’s “kids” told him that before eSports, they had no real interest in school. “The whole Patriot affair didn’t mean much (to them),” Frazier told city council. But, he added, being part of a group that works together and helps each other make being a Massac County patriot a reality for them.

Frazier said the eSports program is not a cure for social issues such as “cliques” and bullying, but it does help socialize some kids who might otherwise make it through high school with little interaction with their classmates. .

Frazier said his industry contacts are always on the lookout for kids who have developed the skills available through esports. It emphasizes team spirit, problem solving, critical thinking and self-confidence.

Although the Massac program is almost 6 years old, these children are really on the “ground floor”. Frazier said that more than 100 high schools in Illinois now offer eSports and that he has been active in the “onboarding” process with several of them. In fact, IHSA just added eSports this year as an “activity”, much like their bass fishing, chess, drama and so on. In April 2022, they will host the first IHSA State Series in three game titles.

Frazier said Massac’s team had been “improved” in the game “Overwatch,” a game that earned them a national title, as well as a grant of $ 2,500. They are currently ranked ninth out of 37 teams in this particular competition.

MCHS eSports currently has two competing teams, but after Christmas it plans to field five.

Something that Frazier is extremely proud of, and rightly so, is Massac’s top-notch “control center”. The room has a new paint job (the book by Frazier), 12 game stations, three console stations, three high-tech recliners and a streaming station, all thanks to purchases / tight negotiations from Frazier, to Town Money, to State Farm’s “Overwatch” money club and seed money. Frazier estimates that the value of the equipment in the new hall exceeds budgeted funds by at least $ 5,000, but through his connections with the industry and a bit of “horse bartering,” they have been successful in s ‘get out.

Frazier is also proud of his “officers”. Rodriguez is the club president, Darnell is the vice president, Matt Austin is the treasurer, Weslee Williams is their media specialist and Elijah Dalla is their tournament organizer.

“They pretty much run things now, I’m here to oversee and tweak things when I have to,” he said.

As with everything, moderation is key, but before you criticize your kids for too much “play”, think about the possibilities and get involved. Frazier and the Massac eSports program have a great thing to do here and invite you to check it out.

“He’s done a lot with eSports,” Hayes said of Frazier. “He’s got at least three scholarships now. This is the crazy thing. He would have done this three or four years earlier if I had given in. … That’s all Brock. Frazier did it all. He gets all the credit for this one.