“We’re taking it to the next level”

ESports club finds a new sense of identity through its rebranding

ESports+hosts+their+second+in-house+tournament+fundraiser+on+Oct.+29.+Ernesto+Valle+competes+against+another+member+of+the+club+in+the+Super+Smash+Bros+Ultimate+tournament.+

Provided by ESports Instagram

ESports hosts their second in-house tournament fundraiser on Oct. 29. Ernesto Valle competes against another member of the club in the Super Smash Bros Ultimate tournament.

Hearts racing, controller button mashingan unbreakable concentration fueled by a desire to win. Eager players ranging from freshmen to seniors gather in room 406. Gamers compete against and alongside one another in a battle for the win against another High School Electronic Sports (ESports) team.

This school year, the Bonita Vista High (BVH) ESports club rises from the ashes of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerges as a new, rebranded club. One looking to become formally recognized by the student body and appeal to a wider variety of student gamers.

“We wanted to make sure ESports wasn’t just ‘the video game club’, and that it became more known on campus. BVH has all these great programs [such as] Newspaper and Speech and Debate, but they also have a really good ESports program,” President of the ESports team and senior Marcello Garbo said.  

Part of becoming more recognizable on campus includes a brand new logo designed by the club, as an attempt to present the group “more formally”, according to Garbo. In addition to this, efforts have been made to promote the club through an active social media presence, where activities such as open tournaments and fundraisers are advertised. The changes ESports is undergoing remind older members how different the club’s environment was in prior years, and how the current changes have improved the atmosphere. 

“It was very different, mostly just very small. [It was] almost as if the club didn’t exist. It was a fun little place for friends to play games, but now we’re inviting a larger community. People wanna play all different types of games. It’s a lot better now,” competitive Smash Bros player and junior Ernesto Valle said.  

Whether it be against someone I’ve never played with or someone I’ve known for a long time, when I’m in that competitive mindset, I love the feeling of my heart racing”

— Competitive Smash Bros player and junior Ernesto Valle

Valle joined the club his freshman year, and states that the current day environment of ESports is “the best it’s ever been.” Valle, being a competitive player himself, appreciates the additional steps ESports is taking this year to give its competitive players more opportunities to play the way they desire.

“Whether it be against someone I’ve never played with or someone I’ve known for a long time, when I’m in that competitive mindset, I love the feeling of my heart racing,” Valle said. “I love every second of playing. I get this adrenaline rush where we’re [players Valle is competing against] in our own little world having fun.” 

According to Garbo, Valle is “undoubtedly our star player” in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, the game he focuses on competitively in. Having gone undefeated in every Smash Bros tournament he’s played in, Garbo emphasizes how the diverse set of characters Valle chooses to play will allow him to “go really far” in the competitive scene. ESport’s newfound focus on competitive teams will see Valle compete in the Super Smash Bros Ultimate scene in more events to come; the game itself attracting Valle to the contest side of gaming.   

“What I think is really special about Smash is that it’s a game where you don’t need to leave the world you’re in to have fun. You can invite people in to have fun rather than being on your own,” Valle said.   

In an effort to provide players interested in competitive gaming with more opportunities, ESports began its collaboration with gaming organizations such as PlayVS and the High School ESports League (HSEL). ESports’ own team has entered tournaments for the game Valorant through HSEL and recently finished their first Major, gaming Majors being conducted similarly to the average sports season, where they placed fifth out of 5000 other teams. Valorant team captain and sophomore Luke Caddell is one of the many players that was drawn to the club’s recent focus on competitive gaming.     

“I was really excited to hear about the competitive part, it was one of the main reasons I joined. Our team is doing really great right now and it makes us a lot happier. The competitive aspect is just really great for me,” Caddell said. 

In order to provide players with more opportunities including tournaments and competitions that are free of charge, ESports has conducted several fundraising tournaments and participated in  recent food fairs.  

“We’ve had a lot of great success. We’ve been able to raise so much money this semester that we’ve been able to pay for this semester and next semester of Smash Bros tournaments through PlayVS,” Garbo said. “Not a single student playing Smash Bros has had to pay a penny out of their pocket.” 

After seeing the changes to ESports in action, Garbo expresses how it’s “amazing” and that he “would have never expected it” to take shape the way it has. However, even after adopting a set of new changes to appeal to a larger audience, ESports still aims to be the same welcoming environment to all types of gamers. 

“We’re able to come together and talk about gameplay or feedback, but most of all, we want to have a good time playing together. So after those games, we’ll just decompress by playing a few casual matches afterwards and talking about how it went. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. We’re all there for each other to support each other when it comes to gaming,” Garbo said.