The first video game I ever played was RadioShack’s home version of Pong. Soon after that I enjoyed games on the Atari 2600. As malls grew, arcades became popular hangouts and the best players would always attract a crowd. When Dragons Lair was released, many consoles would have an extra elevated screen so that the crowds could see better. The seeds of esports go back a long way to the days of Billy Mitchell, Pac-Man and crowded arcades.
Forty years later it seems as though esports has come upon us overnight. Watching a new industry grow is wonderful, but stepping up to the opportunity to study and participate in this growth is something that will set UST apart from the pack. Just as many universities started to offer programs in sports management 20 years ago, the growth of esports requires a thorough unpacking in the academic world.
Spend any time watching an esports competition and you will be bombarded by new sights and sounds – a new language that seems like words you know but the action is so fast that it is easy to get lost. Every sport is the same until you take the time to learn it. As I watch high school students between classes, they make time to interact with others through online games and find great interest in the social aspect of these new worlds.
UST is poised to make a real impact on a new industry by approaching it with the Catholic liberal arts lens. The city of Houston will benefit from the work and study that will happen on our campus. As someone who has worked in secondary education for almost 20 years, I know that this will spark the interest and imagination of many students. Let’s press play!
Author: Fr. Jim Murphy, CSB, is the third president in the 121-year history of St. Thomas High School. He also serves on the UST Board of Directors.