While other sports teams at Texas A&M University-San Antonio have had to hit the pause button on their seasons because of COVID-19, the esports team has been playing its inaugural season this semester — and players are promoting the program by hosting gaming events for all students.
Unlike basketball, football and other contact sports, esports takes place online and teams can adhere to social distancing protocols.
Annabella Deleon, the team’s post graduate assistant, said the season is not in jeopardy.
“It hasn’t affected us 100 percent. It has maybe affected us 10 percent,” Deleon said. “It is not affecting us as bad as we thought it would be.”
The team has a total of 25 members, some of which compete in multiple games.
They are competing in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) governing body, as well as the CSL Esports and TESPA (formerly Texas eSports Association) leagues. A&M-San Antonio players compete against schools such as UT-Dallas, Blinn College and the University of North Texas.
The team practices Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4-6 p.m. Coach Travis Yang has left it open for the students to decide whether or not they attend the practice in person or online.
“In normal circumstances, I think practicing in person, together, helps the team tremendously, but as long as COVID is around, my focus is on if students are healthy and making them feel safe.”
“Coach is very for us, no matter what,”said Sebastian De Hoyos, member of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Valorant teams. “Whatever you feel comfortable with, do what you can.”
This season the students are competing in several different games:
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- League of Legends
- Apex Legends
- Rocket League
The students competing on the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team qualified for the SSBU NACE Smash Crew Battle League Playoffs, the team’s Twitter account announced on Nov. 2, finishing with a 3-1 record in NACE gameplay, according to SSBU team member Sebastian De Hoyos.
While the SSBU team earned a playoff berth in their inaugural season, the team fell short of their ultimate goal falling to UT-Dallas 0-2 after defeating Bryant & Stratton – Wisconsin 2-0 in the opening round on Nov. 6.
The esports program also holds gaming events open to all students.
The team hosted a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 1v1 tournament finishing the last qualifying match Oct. 24 where players make their way up the leaderboard for a chance to compete in the finals on Nov. 14.
The program previously hosted a “tournament of terror” event Oct. 2-16.
Another way to keep track of the team is through social media. They are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow along with their matches on the team’s Twitch account. Their social media channels are: