Trophies are rolling in at Broken Arrow High School, not on a field or a court, but in the eSports arena.
The Tigers’ eSports team took home a state title over the weekend, finishing first in the Oklahoma eSports League "Overwatch" playoffs.
The team also finished third in the "League of Legends" playoffs.
“Once it actually happened and the kids were able to see the end result of all their hard work, they were excited,” said Broken Arrow head coach Tyler Utt.
With college scouts on hand and potential scholarships in their future, the grind is real for these players hoping to make it to the next level.
“We’ve got like a couple thousand hours; we play like every night,” said Travis Hafner, a sophomore on the team. “I've been playing since sixth grade, which was four years ago, so it's a lot of grinding.”
“From the outside in, they look like they’re just spending all day playing video games,” said Utt. “But really, in today’s world, they’re practicing for a full-time career.”
And as eSports continues to grow, so does the excitement and hope around their program.
“It's a very big opportunity for other schools to be taking on,” said Brandon Heuynh, a sophomore. “The industry is very big, it's clearly expanding in viewership, money, all that stuff.”
“It’s the kind of game that every man can do,” said co-coach Philip Anderson. “And maybe, that's what’s drawing all these guys to come in. ‘Hey, I'm not good at physical sports. I'm not good at this. Let me do eSports’.”
With the playoffs done, the season comes to a close, but that doesn’t mean it's the off-season for them.
“Right back into grinding; no days off,” said Hafner.
That grind continues later this month when they hold tryouts for next year’s team.