Competitive eSports comes to Bellevue West

Bryan Edwards, Videographers


When walking into room 619 you might see a group of kids playing Mario Kart or Overwatch. What you may not know is that they are competing in a statewide eSports league.

Computer Science teacher Dan Parkison sponsors the Strategic Games, Cyber Patriot, and Robotics clubs, and added the eSports club where he is hoping to give students a space and opportunity to play video games after school.

“The big thing is I want to have a place for people to go and so I saw this league that was starting up in Nebraska called eSports,” Parkison said. “It’s something that’s not just us playing online it’s actually a competition and my big goal is I want to have a place for people to go and have a place to plug in.”

At the beginning of the club’s inception there were difficulties with getting access from the district network to be able to play the games within the league. 

“The people that run the network, they’re saying that we don’t need to do this,” Parkison said. “And I’m saying I have 72 kids that say otherwise.”

Parkison related this experience to a parable he was told while working at a foster kids camp. 

The story is about a kid who goes to a beach after a storm where a bunch of starfish are washed up on the shore. The kid starts picking up the starfish and throwing them back into the water one by one. While returning these starfish to the water a man walks up to the child and tells him that he can’t possibly save all these starfish. Then the kid picks up another starfish and throws it into the water before turning to the man and saying “it made a difference to that one.”

“It’s frustrating because I see these starfish on the beach,” Parkison said. 

However, with all this frustration came a positive outcome. Bellevue Public Schools’ information technology department arranged for all games to work within the parameters of the wireless network filter. 

“I’m working with the network people cause they’re pulling the reins and stuff but in a good way,” Parkison said. “They’re trying to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.”

The Nebraska Schools eSports Association includes three different seasons. Fall, which includes Hearthstone, Overwatch and Rocket League. Winter, which includes Mario Kart 8. And Spring, which includes Smash Ultimate, SMITE, and Starcraft II. 

Junior Francisco Duarte said that a benefit of being in eSports is being able to play with friends while utilizing the skill of teamwork.

“Most games are team games where communication and understanding what your teammates are doing is the difference between winning and losing,” Duarte said. 

The Bellevue West eSports team’s next competition is Thursday September 30 vs Gretna. Following that competition is a district level competition the last week of October.