The final 3-match game of the Overwatch season between RBHS’s and Hickman High School’s (HHS) A teams Nov. 16 resulted in a [3-0] victory on the Bruin side. Leading up to the district championship game, RBHS won against Battle High School’s (BHS) A team and Hickman claimed victory over the Bruins’ B team in the tournament bracket two days prior. The final game was held in the Battle High School theatre.
“I will say that the great thing about Rock Bridge A is that when they have a plan, like when we make a plan back here on stage, we execute it,” said RBHS coach Joe Chee. “It worked out every single time, especially that cheesy Route 66 hide-behind-the-broken-trailer strategy, that was something that we weren’t all sure would work, but we were all confident in doing it together.”
The final match of the game was “Escort,” where one side plays offense, escorting a payload to a delivery location, while the other side defends and attempts to halt their progress. Each team gets chances to play both sides, and whoever escorts the payload farther wins. As HHS was just beginning their turn to escort, the whole RBHS team hid in a wrecked freight car near the Kewpies’ starting point, a hiding spot which was overlooked. This gave the Bruins a huge advantage after they commenced a surprise ambush, preventing the opposing team from moving their vehicle farther than 42 meters.
The time spent together also meant a great deal to the players, including senior Leo Zhuang, who goes by “Jianbow” in-game. Not many members knew each other at the beginning of the season, but by the end were able to form a strong bond with one another.
“To me, this team is a family,” Zhuang said. “It’s like any other sports team. We play together a lot and learn to trust each other. I have enjoyed it because in the past, video games was something you just did by yourself. There might be that one person that also played, but that [would] be it. This team has exposed me to so many great people.”
Junior member Michael “Welldone” Cecil has fond memories of his time with the group as well, although he’s content with the team ending here. When the team was created, he said, its purpose was to bring together a group of players skilled enough to win a district championship against HHS and BHS, and it did just that. Cecil said he had fond memories of hanging out with his new friends outside the game, like riding in Leo’s car and listening to his scuffed singing.
“My teammates have grown into friends, that’s a fact,” Cecil said. “It’s a lot easier when we’re winning but I think we mesh really well in general and that has honestly helped us in-game. Not sure if I’ll miss anything from the team; we’re friends outside of the club and team so it’s not like our paths end with the finals.”
Chee, a coach who didn’t expect himself to have to take up the role, has grown fond of the guys on the team after spending all season with them. Watching them come together and hold that trophy even though they were one of the shyest teams starting out, he said, meant so much to him as a coach.
“This is probably the one year I’ll ever get to coach high school esports,” Chee said. “It just so happened the coach we had lined up dropped last minute, so I was the stand-in coach for the entire season. Over time I did develop a bias obviously towards this. I’m supposed to be the commissioner, but Ben [Brooks] is the commissioner and I’m a coach now.”
As for what lays ahead for these gamers, Chee said to stay on the lookout for some big news about the team. Soon, he said, some really important announcements will forever change the public opinion on esports in Columbia, Missouri.
“I will say that over the course of the last three weeks, we’ve had multiple colleges scouting our students here, whether it’s Rock Bridge, Battle, or Hickman,” Chee said. “So you may see some things in terms of them earning or them getting what they deserve to get as phenomenal players.”
The other esports clubs in the district focusing on League of Legends will begin their second season next Spring. To visit the RBHS Esports Twitter page, click here.