With most LMU fall sports having already kicked off, the LMU eSports club started their season with a mission to play video games competitively and for fun, while also legitimizing eSports itself as a real sport.
Many of these players grew up playing video games as their favorite hobby, which led them to join the eSports club and becoming part of a shared community of competitive and casual gaming.
“I’ve been playing video games for a long time, especially [on] PC. My parents are big PC gamers so I kind of grew up with that. So for me it was very much something I just enjoyed,” said sophomore biology major Bella Rementeria.
Rementeria is also a member of the executive board for eSports club, serving as the event coordinator. Alongside her on the executive board is tresurer and junior math major Nico Marino, who has been a member since his freshman year, seeing the club’s growth and evolution on campus.
“We’ve grown to have more competitive teams where we play other schools for the main games like 'League of Legends,' 'Hearthstone' and 'Overwatch,'" said Marino. “We’ve also tried to set up game nights once a month and then we have tournaments for '[Super] Smash Bros. Ultimate' and some other games just to increase the amount of people that can interact with us.”
The executive board for the club is led by their president, senior biology major John “Joey” Nimmers-Minor. Nimmers-Minor also serves as the captain of the varsity "Overwatch" team within the club. He has been a member of the club since his freshman year and has been passionate about the community the club has created.
The eSports club competes with other schools through Tespa, an organization focused on collegiate competitive eSports. The club has multiple teams for competitive video games, but also wants casual gamers to be a part of it.
Video games have been a hot topic in the media lately, with some like President Donald Trump arguing that gaming causes violence, according to NBC News. Rementeria is determined to shed the negative labels surrounding video games.
“[Video gaming is] in a weird state because a lot of people look down on people, to a degree. Like they see studies where video games cause violence or video games are bad. They kind of look down on people who play them,” said Rementeria.
Nimmers-Minor explained further that one of the club’s main goals is to focus on eliminating this stigma surrounding video games. He wants eSports to be recognized and respected as a legitimate sport and form of entertainment. Despite the noise, eSports club has remained focused on their mission to create a place for people to meet and talk about gaming, while also focusing on casual and competitive play in video games.
“It’s always been one of our missions to erase that stigma around people who play video games. There’s the stereotype of sitting at home or in their moms' basement playing video games until 5 in the morning,” said Nimmers-Minor. “Not only are we people who enjoy video games but we’re students — we’re growing adults. There’s so many more aspects to everyone in that club besides playing video games. But that’s the one thing that glues us together.”
When comparing eSports to other, more recognized sports such as basketball and soccer, the club is looking to fight back against people who claim that eSports is not a real sport.
“Right now eSports is absolutely a growing, globalized form of entertainment,” said Nimmers-Minor. “Just as curling is a competition, [there’s a] very minimal amount of physical exertion. You still need to practice, you still need to compete, you need to have that same mentality as if it’s a sport.”
Although not currently recognized as a club sport, the club is hoping, by the spring semester, to convert an unused room in the Burns Recreation Center into a meeting space where teams can practice and play matches against other schools together, in a shared space. As for the future of eSports at LMU, Nimmers-Minor would like for eSports to receive further recognition and have it be considered a major college sport here on the Bluff.
“I hope that within the next decade or so, we can start offering scholarships or something of the sort to students who are coming in looking to play eSports because eSports is becoming a career choice,” said Nimmers-Minor.