Student members of True League, a team of UWSP’s League of Legends student organization, are taking a break after practicing nearly 12 hours a week during their tournament season.
True League recently competed around the nation, in places like Huntsville, Alabama where the team took third place, in the North American Collegiate Championship competitions.
Dustan Erickson, junior history education major and team member, said the group needed to take a break after competing at the national level.
“We worked hard to get our studying done to play,” Erickson said. “We went over strategies to go into the competitions, and looked ahead to see what other teams were doing.”
League of Legends is an online, multi-player video game that focuses on character battles.
Chris Williams, organization adviser and English professor, said gaming is beneficial to students because it requires critical thinking and is highly strategic.
“I think video games are, in a really essential way, a very useful educational ally,” Williams said. “It’s where strategic tactics and reflexes meet.”
While League of Legends is considered an electronic sport, Erickson, Williams and Ian Polzin, freshman team member, each hesitated to call the game a traditional sport. However, each agreed there are similarities between the two.
Williams said sports are games with performance, and performance is what viewers wish to see. He said people can see these qualities in the game.
“They recognize the significance of physical performance in these kinds of games, reflex, awareness, that are valued then as performance, like sports,” Williams said.
Erickson agreed the competition helps justify video games as sports.
“It’s a thinking man’s sport,” Polzin said. “ To play you need to think. It’s not mindlessly pressing buttons.”
Williams said that while many gamers may find themselves isolated in dorm rooms playing, the organization allows members to connect with others. Polzin agreed connections with team members are one of the best parts of the organization.
“It’s fun to play, and it’s fun to laugh,” Polzin said. “We’re all kind of jokesters, so it’s bound to be funny.”