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Esports growing in Mid-Michigan

Posted at 7:33 PM, Jan 01, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Colleges throughout Michigan are catching onto the growing trend of esports or competitive video gaming.

Jackson College is one of the latest schools to add a team.

"Other than actually physically going out and tackling someone or running laps or whatever, I mean, everything else is exactly what you'd expect out of a sport," said coach Brad Choate.

The idea to start an esports team at Jackson College came about more than a year ago.

Staff began working on the arena last summer.

"We posted flyers around on campus and online that we were looking to have tryouts, just kind of word of mouth got around," said Choate.

The team started practices in October. They practice four days a week and have had scrimmages against other teams that are part of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The Jets play two different games, Rocket League and League of Legends.

The athletes are not paid, but there are opportunities to win scholarship money.

"It was kind of outside of my real of possibility for thinking about like financial aid and all that, but now that it's here, if that could be a possibility, that would extremely help me," said team member Jacob Trentman.

There's also a physical element to esports. The team has a personal trainer putting together a fitness program for them.

"There's going to be some cardio, calisthenics, and then like yoga and stuff to help promote good posture, try to prevent any sort of wrist issues or anything like that, as well," said Choate.

The bond these teammates form goes beyond the screen.

"We just started talking and I hit if off with a few of them and now I have some of my best friends that are on the team," said Trentman.

"It's not what people imagine where it's just kids sitting in a basement. It's a very social activity," said Choate.

So far, the team has only participated in scrimmages against other teams, but they will play in the Grand Rapids Rift Clash Tournament in February.

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