Upon arrival in new the eSports room at Notre Dame, the first things you notice are high-tech PCs, cool dangling lights, lively chatter and the smiling faces of students playing games together. The games played during club meetings range from Super Smash Bros, to Splatoon 3, Fortnight and more!
eSports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games. Most commonly, eSports takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, between professional players and teams. Although organized online and offline competitions have long been a part of video game culture, these were largely between amateurs until the late 2000s, when participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events through live streaming saw a large surge in popularity. By the 2010s, eSports was a significant factor in the video game industry, with many game developers actively designing toward a professional eSports subculture.
Participants and teams compete in seasons or tournaments, similar to athletic sports, and compete for prize pools from hundreds of thousands to several million dollars. At the high school level, players generally compete for cash prizes of thousands of dollars and scholarships. Hundreds of schools now offer scholarships for eSports athletes; Harrisburg University made the news in 2018 as the first school to offer a full ride for their entire team consisting of 16 students.
The Notre Dame Gladiators eSports League Team will participate in the High School eSports National League. The team will be competing in the following Nintendo Switch tournaments: Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Mario Kart 8, and Splatoon 3. On PC, the team will compete in Minecraft, Rocket League, and Valorant. Members of the eSports Club had to try out for each team they were interested in. Over 40 students tried out with 23 students making the League Team. The potential to win scholarship money is available if teams place high enough and apply to colleges that have eSports programs.
The team would like to participate in other leagues, such as the Garden State eSports League, in the future. This year is a pilot year so the club is still identifying different games and competitive tournaments that they would like to be involved with in the coming years. Club moderator, Mr. Jaime Gibilisco hopes in the future, the team will be able to grow into as many different competitive forums as the students would like to participate in.
Executive board members wanted to shout out Mr. Jaime Gibilisco, “We have come a long way from an idea from Mr. Jaime Gibilisco at the end of the spring last year and now we have our own room and a big group of students.”
The club is made of up of students who play video games as hobby or competitively, anyone is welcome to join! One student stated, “eSports Club has helped me open up as a person, learn new things and meet new people - it’s a very inclusive club.”
Cliff Russell ‘24
Simon Lee ‘26
Sarah Colon ‘25
Madison Fajardo ‘26
Simeon Salins ‘27
AJ Crawford ‘26
Josh Dore ‘25
Zach Malus ‘26