Merkel High School adds Esports program to curriculum

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MERKEL, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When you usually think of sports equipment, you think of a basketball, or maybe a volleyball, but what about a controller?

“I’ve always just did it as a hobby, I never though I could do it for grades or anything important,” said Merkel High School Senior Joseph Pena.

It was an idea turned into a reality because now Pena gets to play video games for sport.

“My heart kind of exploded at the thought,” said Pena.

It’s all part of Merkel High School’s new Esports program.

“They will be playing Overwatch one semester and they will be playing League of Legends the other semester,” said the future Esports instructor Matt Tarpley.

The school will form a team this upcoming school year to compete against other schools across the nation, just like any other sport

“It’s not like it doesn’t have its own challenges,” said Pena.

“”There is no sport that has more communication and team work involved that Esports,” said Tarpley. “The mechanical skills, the fine motor skills are pretty crazy.”

When students are playing the game, they’ll be learning about it in Matt Tarpley’s Esports marketing class.

“It’ll show the ties in of real industry jobs and how it ties into something like Esports,” said Tarpley. “All the social media marketing, and all the print media marketing. It gives them more opportunities more directions that they can go into.”

It’s a program that will give these classmates teammates and a lab to call home.

“I like the idea of giving students something else to engage in and something else to be a part of,” said Merkel High School Principal James Stevens.

“I think it opens opportunities for some people that we’re sure about what they wanted to do, they just sit around doing their math homework, not knowing where they’re going, this opens opportunities, it really does,” said Pena.

The class and club are two separate things. Students can sign up for the class through the high school’s admin department and try-outs for the team will be the first couple of weeks into school.

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