Gamers will compete through new varsity esports team


Spring 2022 schedule (Photo courtesy of MIHSEF).

Esports is the fastest growing sport in the world, with global esports revenue rising to more than $1 billion in 2021, growing 14.5 percent each year, according to Zoonew’s Global Esports market report.

Starting in the fall of 2022, Milford will have its own esports program. Offering students a chance to be on a varsity team at Milford by playing video games. Math Teacher, Mr. Wagner took on the opportunity to start the program after accepting a job at MHS earlier this year. He has taken the challenge head-on with strong plans to build the program from the ground up.

Wagner is not only a gamer himself, but in his past teaching position, he led the program as one of the eight schools that started the Michigan High School Esports Federation. His esports knowledge and experience along with his general video game expertise should provide a strong backbone for the start of esports at Milford.

High schools all across Michigan compete in esports. Unlike other athletics, esports has multiple seasons and will compete during the fall and winter. Different games are offered during different seasons. There are three games played during the season, the main game and two smaller games. Each game is played on a different day during the week — either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

While the games for the next season are TBD, the league already has specific games this spring. The games being played are Super Smash Bros Ultimate (solos), Rocket League (trios), and Overwatch (6 vs 6). Regular season competitions are done virtually and playoffs will be held at an undetermined destination.

Students will specialize in a POV (first or third person) or individual game. For example, a student could be a great Rainbow Six Siege and Valorant player, both of which are third-person shooter games. This player would then practice mostly those games and work to improve skills to compete.

With a new team comes new equipment! A grant was secured to provide the school with 30 gaming computers to be used by the new esports team as well as provide an upgraded computer lab to be used by various classes. The computers will be installed in room 321, currently occupied by Mrs. Sommer.

Along with the gaming computers, Wagner hopes to acquire a Nintendo switch to use for practicing and competing in various games such as Super Smash Bros, which is only played on that console. Wagner also hopes to provide jerseys to unify the organization.

The esports team will be included as a varsity sport. Depending on the number of players interested and game format,  there could be an A and B team representing a kind of varsity and junior varsity.

Opponents of esports would argue it is just an excuse for kids to play video games and get a free varsity letter, but Wagner made it very clear that this will not be the case.

“It’s not a group of people hanging out and gaming,” he said. “It’s going to be competitive.” He proves this by preparing to run practice an hour and a half a day, Monday through Friday “just like any other varsity sport.”

Practices will include learning game-based strategies, watching “film” (including streamers and past gameplay), while also learning and competing with peers.

“I really want them to learn from each other and help one another,” Wagner said. The only way to get better is to compete against someone better than you, and in the world of esports, there is always someone better.

The home for all Michigan esports is on the website Students can keep up with the schedule, competition results and standings there. There is also a Discord which has information, and even college scouts on the site, looking to recruit esports players for college scholarships.

The esports team is an exciting new addition to the athletic department here at Milford. The first informational meeting will be held on May 18 during seminar, in the Media Center.

Students compete at esports competitions (Photo courtesy of Harrisburg University).