LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Randolph College is preparing to launch a brand new athletics program, and students won't even have to get out of their chairs to get in the game.
That sport is e-sports.
“I know it's the second-highest growing sport behind soccer,” said Randolph College Sophomore Johnny Watters.
Games are not played with a ball, but rather video game controllers.
“You want to win, you want to show the time you put in practicing pays off, and get the highest results possible,” said Watters, who will soon be a two sport athlete at Randolph: soccer and e-sports. He sees several similarities between two of the world's fastest growing sports, from quick decision-making and speedy reaction times, to building bonds with teammates.
“It gives me opportunities to meet new people, and people who have similar interests to me,” said the Randolph Sophomore.
Over the summer, Randolph College revamped its entire internet infrastructure to support the launch of a competitive e-sports team next fall.
“When you're gaming, fractions of a second of response time can be the difference between life and death of a character,” said Randolph Chief Technology Officer Victor Gosnell.
The school plans to hire a coach for the team, and provide a space for the students to practice and play.
“There will be a space dedicated to the team just like a hands-on sports team would have a playing field,” said Gosnell.
The team will compete against nearly 3,000 students from more than 100 other colleges in the National Association of Collegiate E-sports.
“It gives them an opportunity to not feel isolated, I think a lot of times because you can do this type of gaming alone in your room, the tendency is to do that, but now all of a sudden there's an interest outside of myself, there's an interest in the world, there's an interest in my peer group,” said Gosnell.
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