Welcoming e-sports to Jackson-Reed

Alice Stillerman, Junior Editor

With meetings two days a week and the tournament season right around the corner, Jackson-Reed’s first E-Sports club has officially pressed start.

In recent years, E-Sports popularity has grown significantly and sponsor Marvin Benitez hopes to expand and grow interest within Jackson-Reed too. A Jackson-Reed alum and current IT administrative aide, Benitez played video games with classmates when he was a student and wants to give the same opportunity to current students. “It’s definitely something positive for students to invest time in. It also develops social interactions and lifetime friendships,” Benitez said.

“We would like it to grow in Jackson-Reed, there is interest, it’s just that we have a lack of resources,” Benitez said. While the E-Sports club has received funding from the PTSO, running the club is very expensive, as consoles, games, and other equipment and accessories are expensive.

“We’re starting from the ground up, but, fortunately the PTSO (Parent Teacher Student Organization) has funded us to start the league,” Benitez said.

The league is Play Versus (PlayVS) and Jackson-Reed competes in the Eastern region. PlayVS allows students to play both in school and at home and includes eight games, such as Super Smash Brothers and NBA 2K. DCSAA is also affiliated with the league, whose members include St. John’s, School Without Walls HS, McKinley, CHEC, Eastern HS, Friendship PCS, and KIPP DC College Prep PCS.

The E-Sports club is currently scrimmaging against each other in preparation for tournaments, with preseason beginning in February. Meetings, which are held every Tuesday and Thursday, are in room B303 involves. “Everyone pull[s] up a chair and play[s] some scrimmages,” Caeden McGinthy, a freshman club member, said. The club has attended one tournament at Eastern, the only other participating DCPS school with an E-Sports club. The tournament, which was the first ever DCPS invitational, hosted DCPS and charter schools. Other DCPS schools, such as Woodson, are also building teams. 

Having the chance to just compete with friends is something all club members value. “I love playing Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and I wanted to get into playing it competitively and I wanted to play with some other people,” Alexander Kubal, a freshman club member, said. •