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High school esports now sanctioned in Colorado: 'Times are changing'

Aurora Esports Hub gets more kids in the game
Aurora Esports Hub gets more kids in the game 02:12

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — Playing video games will soon be the next after-school competition offered by high schools around Colorado. The Colorado High School Activities Association told CBS esports will be added in October for official gaming competition.

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More than 22,000 students in Colorado are already signed up for gaming clubs or activities. CHSAA said it was time to join the movement around the nation of expanding their sanctioned activities to video games.

CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Branford-Green told CBS4's Dillon Thomas video game competitions are the quickest growing activity among youth.

"Our kids are moving in this direction, so CHSAA needs to be relevant," Branford-Green said. "It is going to be one of our first inclusive coed opportunities."

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While the title "ESports" implies the gaming will be a sport, and participants argue it is, Blandford-Green said CHSAA will not recognize gaming as a sport. Rather, gaming will fall as an "activity."

When Gateway High School opened in 1973, and chose "The Olympians" as their mascot, the Aurora Public School District likely never imagined the school would one day compete in video games.

The school is one of many around the state with a gaming club already in tact, with varsity and junior-varsity gamers.

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"It started as a club, now it is a sport," said Matt Flori, physics teacher and ESport coach at Gateway High.

CHSAA will adopt two games for official competition, the first being League of Legends. Games will be centered around team building, problem solving, and other school-appropriate competition.

"It's definitely not Grand Theft Auto, that's for sure," said Robert Koto, a junior at Gateway who is on the gaming team. "A lot of the games require you to have very quick thinking. You have to adapt to the situation."

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Participants realize their gaming doesn't fall under the stereotypical image of sporting. They said, however, they felt their passion was as much of a sport as other physical team games like softball and football.

"That's what sports have been forever. But, times are changing, and change is a good thing. Moderninzing with technology, we are advancing much quicker than we have before," Koto said.

CHSAA said they were also looking forward to hosting competitions across state lines as well.

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