Rift of the North eSports Tournament Comes to the Midwest for the First Time
IT IS THE FIRST BIG ESPORTS TOURNAMENT TO TAKE PLACE IN THE F-M AREA
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Nemzek Fieldhouse at Minnesota State University Moorhead holds a lot of basketball and volleyball games throughout the year, but this time, it’s going online.
Lots of yelling and aggressive clicks of the mouse and keyboard are filling the air as part of the first Rift of the North eSports tournament.
Several collegiate teams are playing two different games: “Overwatch” and “League of Legends.”
Students on these teams say eSports is similar to any other team sport.
“It involves, as someone who did sports, it involves all the same things that are involved in sports,” said Kaleb Dschaak, who plays on UND’s “League of Legends” team. “You have to communicate with your team; you have to work together as a team. If one player is trying to take all the glory, you’re going to fall behind, and other teams capitalize on those things.”
The University of Jamestown was the first college to have an eSports team in North Dakota, and head coach Josh Knutson says his approach to coaching is different than coaches in traditional sports.
“We’re not out on a basketball court calling plays and getting after our team like that, but at the same time, there are a lot of different things that we have to do that don’t translate super well to traditional athletics,” Knutson said.
Both students and coaches say they are excited to expand eSports tournaments to the Midwest and are happy they are a part of a growing trend.
“The Midwest, as a general whole, has really embraced eSports, and it’s really cool for us to bring it to the Fargo-Moorhead area,” Knutson said.
“I think you’ll see these grow more and more as it becomes more normalized, and I think you’re going to see that become a very exciting trend because in the cities where this is big, these events are a ton of fun, and this one here is too,” Dschaak said.
All of the teams competing in this tournament are now hoping eSports can click with more people in the region as the sport gets more popular.
Tournament organizers say they hope to reach out to more teams for next year’s competition.