We’re thrilled to share this exciting profile of our very own Ben Kohn and our Springdale E-Sports team by Carroll County Magazine.
IT’S NOT JUST A GAME ANYMORE.
by Lisa Gregory, photography by Nikola Tzenov
Video gaming has become a revered sport all on its own. Esports, or electronic sports, is a form of competition with multiplayer games like League of Legends, a team-based strategy game where two teams of five face off to destroy the other’s base.
And for those playing, it is serious competition, and it’s gaining a lot of attention. At a recent League of Legends world gaming championship in South Korea, almost 100 million viewers tuned in to the online event. Those numbers are comparable to Super Bowl viewership.
Right here in Carroll County, esports is finding its way into competitive independent leagues and schools, and becoming as legitimate as traditional sports like football, basketball and baseball. Since 2018, when the National Federation of State High School Associations first recognized esports as an official sport, more than 8,600 high schools have started video gaming teams.
Springdale Preparatory School in New Windsor saw value in providing students access to esports. Esports coach Ben Kohn, who also teaches music and film at the independent school, has seen firsthand the value for participants.
“It’s about communication and teamwork and critical thinking,” says Kohn, who oversees a team of five who play League of Legends, and a single player who competes in Fortnite, a survival game where players engage each other in combat. “We’re building those skills that the students need to be better at school.”
The esports program at Springdale, which competes February through May, is still young but in an early tournament placed 80th out of 250 teams.