Whether one is a dedicated Counter-Strike player or someone who has not played a video game since Just Dance 3, Bobcat Esports has a place for everyone. With over 500 active members, Bobcat Esports contains clubs of many popular games for players with any level of ability.
Bobcat Esports is under the umbrella of Ohio Esports, the official university program that runs the varsity teams and Esports Arena in Scripps 001. Ohio Esports’ varsity teams are difficult to get on to, with a limited roster of only 10 advanced players. Jeffery Kuhn is the Esports director for Ohio University, and one of his responsibilities is overseeing the varsity teams and conducting tryouts.
“We have a lot of the club members come in for tryouts,” Kuhn said. “They’ll do a couple of different game tests, and they’ll come in here and play, and we want to see (not only) how good of a player they are, but also how good of a teammate they can be.”
Ohio Esports works a lot like other collegiate athletics would; even though only 10 of the best competitors make it onto the varsity teams, anyone is welcome to join the club that plays other university club teams. Any club-related esports activity falls under Bobcat Esports, and each game has its own respective club.
Liam McCamish, a junior studying media arts production, is the president of Bobcat Esports, a coach for the varsity team and the broadcast manager for live-streamed games. He commented on the various clubs within the organization, and how easy it is to get involved with Bobcat Esports.
“Overwatch is one of our biggest clubs, League of Legends, Rocket League and Valorant and those are our four games that participate in our varsity teams as well,” McCamish said. “We kind of just say ... if you can find a group of your friends that like any game, you can have a club.”
Each club has specific weekly meeting times, but the Esports Arena is open for any student to play on Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Additionally, there are various events and tournaments that each club puts on, and if no one else has booked the arena, clubs are free to put on events as they please.
“Really, if the club has an idea, this is where we work really closely,” Kuhn said. “What we really kind of ask (is) the clubs keep the door open. We make sure everyone else can still walk through the door and learn about the club.”
Bobcat Esports creates a space where all students, no matter how they identify, can relate to each other through their love of video games. Joey Dixon, a senior studying marketing, is the social media officer for Bobcat Esports and the president of the Super Smash Bros. team. He described how nice it is to have a welcoming group of people on campus who all have similar interests.
“Growing up playing video games at this level was very taboo, and I think everyone was kind of aware of that,” Dixon said. “So, when you meet other people that are like that, you tend to latch onto them, and it becomes a very cool environment where there isn’t really a social stigma between you guys.”
There are also clubs specifically for women or people in the LGBTQIA+ community; these clubs have the intention of bringing together groups that are widely uncommon in esports environments.
“Just the other day, a few students got together who are all women and like to play Valorant,” Kuhn said. “They’ve officially changed their name to the ‘Gamer Gals’ and it’s just like, ‘If you love gaming, you’re a woman, LGBTQ+, or (use) she/her, they/them pronouns, then come join our club.’”
For some, gaming is a career, and for others, it’s simply a hobby that allows them to de-stress. Whatever the reason may be, Bobcat Esports has a place for all, and the door to the Esports Arena is always open – at least from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.