ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s not basketball, football or track. Two St. Lawrence County high schools are fielding a new team.
These are Madrid-Waddington athletes taking to the playing field for their first competition and promptly sitting down. That's how they roll in Esports.
“As soon as I started playing and we got this team together, I just started having a blast. And I couldn’t get away from it,” said Michael Mikolay, Madrid-Waddington Esports athlete.
Esports athletes know the school isn't going to be holding pep rallies for them. The hallways aren't buzzing about their next big match.
“It's not … it's still … it's different. It's not something that's commonly done especially on the high school scene,” said Gabriel Rutherford, Madrid-Waddington Esports athlete.
They play against other high schools across the nation via the Internet. This is nothing like playing video games alone in your bedroom. It's a team sport. All six players have a role to play – on the team and on the screen.
“Matt, Matt, Matt, come back up here. Oh, he's done. He's actually done,” said Rutherford
Madrid-Waddington is one of the first schools locally to field Esports teams. The school budgeted $30,000 this year, mainly to buy start-up equipment.
Madrid-Waddington is not the only local school with Esports teams. At Hermon-DeKalb, they also have teams representing their school.
It's also Hermon-DeKalb's first season. At both schools, they've heard a Plattsburgh school is also fielding a team – but nothing closer.
“That's one thing I've told these guys, that along with Madrid-Waddington, we're the trailblazers. And that's something that nobody can really take away from us,” said Andrew Bigelow, Hermon-DeKalb Exports coach.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has been conducting what it calls “exploratory discussions” on Esports. They’re not in their lineup yet.