CSU Esports still growing despite the limitations of the pandemic
story by Alexandra Macdonald
published Dec. 12, 2021
When Kyle Beckman returned to the CSU Esports official club after the COVID-19 pandemic caused every club through Campus Recreation to go online, he was the only officer remaining that hadn’t graduated.
The club started around 2014, and was officially recognized through Campus Rec as a sports club in 2019. The Esports team has two sides: casual and competitive, and Beckman is the president of both.
It is “really helpful to have me as both, (they’re) very interdependent of each other,” Beckman said. “Access to use both resources makes it easy and streamlined and keeps everything together.”
But going online wasn’t a major challenge for the club, in which the “e” in Esports came into play. Beckman explained that the connection online was never really inhibited by the virus that plagued many college and university sports teams. The major perk of being electronically based kept their club alive, and even attracted some new people who were forced to stay at home.
“With COVID, we still found ourselves growing,” Beckman said. “This past year alone, our membership has easily doubled.”
There’s around 1,600 people who are registered in the teams’ official Discord chat server, which anyone is allowed to join. It’s the main form of communication for the team and helpful for anyone seeking to learn more information about joining.
After registering as an official sports club — the competitive team of about 100 players — everything became more serious. CSU Esports got jerseys, and player contracts, and even professional photos for their profiles.
“Both the club’s interests lie in wanting to see the growth of the club,” Beckman said, adding that there’s no commitment for the casual side of the club. For those who are interested in playing on a competitive team, the officers recommend joining the casual club to experience more, and then transition to the competitive team.
While games like Rocket League, Overwatch, and League of Legends were initially the most popular at the club’s founding in 2014, the interest in newer games grew.
Ayden Adair, the vice president of the club, included, “People have this idea that sports are innately physical. People still widely respect less physically demanding sports, so why can Esports follow that too? It requires mental and strategic skill.”
In 2019, the competitive Esports team went to a tournament in Las Vegas to compete in the Mountain West Esports finals. Now that the pandemic’s grip on in-person events has slightly lessened, the Esports physical tournaments have the chance to resume.
They also get to play fairly often with the UC Boulder team, but usually online. Also, monthly LANs meetups are usually in person for students to have the opportunity to put faces to online screen names.
“I think the most impressive thing about our team is the diversity,” Beckman said. “We have members that represent CSU’s big community and any intersectional identity that a person may have. All are welcome here.”