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Esports at Syracuse: More than a Console

Esports at Syracuse: More than a Console

In a world with its own culture, there is much to learn and do. Esports at Syracuse has arrived.

The Club

A flat-screen, a headset and goal.

At Syracuse University there is a club dedicated to the world of Esports. The group of students often practice at the Barnes Center at the Arch. Esports at Syracuse initiated over a year ago and students are taking notice. Think of them as an intramural sports organization that wants to be considered more down the line.

The group with various levels of gamers is doing more than just getting together to play games. Senior Nick Polyzoides aka “Shrimp”, captain of the Rainbow 6 Siege teams said, “there is a competitive focus behind the club.” The team is estimated to have at least 600 members with ten percent that rotate for competitions.

“We went from last year not winning a single game to this year to being massively successful,” Polyzoides said.

Esports at Syracuse had not lost a game until a week ago at the playoffs. Despite these losses, Polyzoides claims it hasn’t taken long for them to be noticed on the collegiate level.

“We had an immensely successful season and we ended up in the top 16 teams in the Open League,” Polyzoides said.

The Collegiate Esports Association or CEA is the tournament that the team found their success in. This tournament is just one of two that Polyzoides participates in the other is the Collegiate Rainbow Six. There are six competitive sports teams within the world of Esports and the club itself.

“This is one step below professional play,” Polyzoides said.

Moreover, The amount of time it takes to practice for one of these tournaments could be considered a part-time job ranging between 15-20 hours a week. Polyzoides said he would love to see even more people playing competitively for Esports at Syracuse and is open to anyone joining especially women gamers.

The Role of Female Leadership

Lauren Wiener is the president of Esports at Syracuse. To have her in the top leadership role allows for an opportunity to see and experience things differently according to executive board member Jordan Shluker, the co-event coordinator and sophomore at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry.

He emphasized that the presence of young women in these leadership roles really helps to cut through the miscommunication that can happen among the group.

“I would say having females on the administration its beneficial for the female members in a sense that we can’t connect to them as well, I guess,” Shluker said.

Also, Esports at Syracuse brings with it the opportunity to learn and to grow– at least that’s how community coordinator Katie Willard aka “Wondermelo” a senior at Syracuse University sees it.

“I think it’s great as a young woman myself, I always think it’s awesome to see more representation,” Willard said. “Of course, I prefer a leader who does have confidence and because she does have confidence and happens to also be a girl, I think that’s double awesome.”

According to Interpret a market researcher as of the last quarter of 2018 there was 30.4 percent of women game watchers.

Willard said the group is very conscious of the importance of inclusivity and making sure that everyone that participates in it feels safe to be there. They are watching themselves closely to make sure no one feels ignored in any way.

The Next Chapter

So what’s in the immediate future for the group?

Well, for Esports at Syracuse its building a brand. Making sure there is merchandise in the works for people who want to show their support. The group is always open to more members joining, be they casual or non-gamers. They hope to see more support from the university next year as they continue to prove their worth right now.

According to Esport’s history, credits Wired magazine for the birth of Esports in 1993. Trent Pitoniak the vice president of ESSU said in an email by the time the interest for esports came to Syracuse it was about finding a space to put it.

“The group was originally started at the beginning of last school year. The current president, Lauren, and the president last year, Griffin, created it with other people to have a space for people to compete in video games,” Pitoniak said.

According to Polyzoides, like a library book past its return date, Esports has been overdue at Syracuse University.

“I would say a need. I think that this is something that we’re a number of years behind in comparison to a few other schools. I think there’s definitely the player bass here there’s definitely the desire as we move towards this new era,” Polyzoides said.

Lastly, he said he has basically grown up with this sport since his middle school days and has watched it grow in that time as a soon to be college graduate.

“It’s not anything necessarily new but I think it’s becoming it’s more new to the mainstream and it’s only going to become bigger,” Polyzoides said.

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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