Students take on a different kind of sport

More often than not, when you hear the word “esports” you might question what exactly that is – however for students at Southern River College on the outskirts of Perth, esports is ingrained into the school community.

Earlier this year, students from Teach For Australia Partner School, Southern River College, were crowned state champions following their win in the Meta High School esports WA Regional Rocket League final.

Electronic sports, also known as esports, date back to the late nineties but in the past few years it has been officially named as a sport.

The college’s involvement in esports commenced last year after students approached humanities and social sciences (HASS) teacher and Teach For Australia Alumnus, Richard Filer (Cohort 2017) in the hope of establishing official school teams.

Teach For Australia Alumnus Richard Filer (Cohort 2017) and Jamie Harris (back row, middle) were part of the Southern River College epsorts team in 2019.

Mr Filer, as he is known to his students, is a keen gamer and jumped at the opportunity to guide his students into the esports realm.

Typically the team is open for Year 11 and 12 students to join, however this year saw the introduction of Year 10 student, Jamie Harris into the team.

“Mr Filer had come along and picked up the opportunity to be able to run the esports competition through our school. It had come through the daily notices and Rocket League is a game that I am really passionate about,” Jamie said when looking back on joining the team.

Jamie had been playing esports game, Rocket League, for the past three years and when the daily notices at school came around looking for players, he was excited by the prospect of joining the team.

“I jumped at the opportunity to be able to join the esports team as the youngest player, with the rest of the team being in Year 12.”

Rocket League combines soccer with driving in an unbelievable physics-based multiplayer-focused game.

Being the youngest member of the team came with its challenges as Jamie soon found out.

“I didn’t know any of them before joining the team,” Jamie recalls. “It was a bit weird and I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know any of them. I was quite shy and didn’t really want to talk to them.”

After overcoming his nerves, Jamie fitted into the side seamlessly and with his help, the team made it all the way through to the state final.

“It was great, we won the final at the Escape Portal (an esports venue in Perth) in overtime and I even scored the winning goal,” Jamie said.

Now that the season is over and Southern River Colleges’ Year 12 students are graduating at the end of the year, Jamie has been made captain for the team next year.

The captaincy comes with a lot more responsibility, which Jamie is looking forward to taking on.

“I’ve got to make sure that everyone is available to play on the day, make sure that our team is signed in and just make sure that everything is ready to go before the game.”

“It’s going to be a lot more effort from me next year but I’m really looking forward to the extra responsibility,” said Jamie.

Jamie has his eyes set on lofty ambitions for the team next year.

“This year we won the WA title but then lost to Queensland in the national competition – which meant we didn’t get to go to the esports open in Melbourne. So I’m really aiming for us to make it Melbourne to compete on the big stage,” Jamie said.

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