It’s In The Game: The NHS esports team overcomes challenges on the path to victory


Photo by Eric Wynn

Noblesville’s esports team wins a game of Rocket League. Players use fun gamertags to represent their car in the game.

Ben Freeman and Bergan Zebrauskas

After a period of confusion over safety precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic, sports like basketball and football have decided to proceed with their seasons this year. However, one sport in particular has had a much easier time providing fans with a normal season.

The NHS esports team is a fairly new organization, making Noblesville High School one of few high schools to have a competitive gaming team. Eric Wynn, the coach of the team, is grateful for the unique opportunity.

“I know of a lot of other schools who don’t quite understand the kind of opportunity an esports team provides, but our students and administrators are really supportive,” Wynn said.

Team members like sophomore Logan Kelch understand the rarity of high school esports programs, but still understand that this is very much a team sport.

“Esports is similar to other teams for the work we put in. I have pages of notes on how I need to improve. It’s different because it is generally more laid back,” Kelch said, “practices usually aren’t intense exercises, they’re usually us playing the game and experimenting.”

The NHS esports team is taking advantage of the virtual nature of their sport to continue with competitions with a much reduced health risk. Despite this, team members are still anticipating some abnormalities.

“We would usually go to the lab to practice and play our games but now we do it all from home,” Kelch said.

Wynn admits that practice isn’t as organized this year due to Covid, but he has great expectations for the season.

“We won the championship the first year and we were looking pretty good last year, so I’m optimistic about the performance this season, but the internet connection is worrisome,” Wynn said.

The team has gone from sharing a physical space in the school building to functioning entirely over the internet, creating some issues with wifi connection. However issues from the past have left the team prepared.

“We’ve had kids with computer issues at home, so they’ve had to play from computers in the library, so these things have affected us in the past,” Wynn said.

Playing games from home is not out of the ordinary for this team due to internet issues at the school. Langdon Bartosiak, a sophomore on the team who plays Super Smash Bros. on his Nintendo Switch, has experienced these difficulties.

“The school never bothered to fix the WiFi so it would connect to our Switches last year,” Bartosiak said, “so we always had to play our games from home anyway.”

The esports team is a close-knit group, just like other sports teams at NHS. The members of the team have become friends while competing together. Bartosiak enjoys playing games with his teammates for fun, without the competition aspect.

“A lot of my friends are on the team, and I’ve been able to make quite a few friends through the team. Being able to play with them can be really fun.” Bartosiak said, “I always did well playing against my brother or friends, so being able to play against more and better opponents sounded great.”

Despite typically competing from a distance, the team members say participating from home may remove an important part of the team experience.

“I would prefer them to be in person because it makes it feel more like a team sport than an individual ‘Let’s just play this game.” Wynn said.

The team bond of the esports team is just like other competitive sports, but video games are constantly updating, creating new challenges for the team to overcome. 

“They don’t add new balls or fields to soccer, but a new character or stage getting added to a competitive video game is pretty common.” Bartosiak said.

Through it all, though, Wynn believes that the team has a bond that can outlast the trials of social distancing.

“I enjoy picking up video games and talking to the other members and being in this community, Wynn said, “it gives students something to do and someone to go to.”     

Video games have brought a new source of competition and fun to the team members’ lives, allowing them to challenge themselves and do something they enjoy. Bartosiak joined the team to challenge himself and improve his skills, but ultimately to have fun.

“At the end of the day, isn’t that the point of video games?” Bartosiak said