SANTA YNEZ, Calif. — Esports have emerged, as Santa Ynez High School has created its own program.
Santa Ynez senior Cameron Prendergast couldn’t wait to join the team for his final semester.
“It was nice seeing a school like our’s just pick it up like that,” he said. “When COVID-19 took over our other sports’ seasons.”
The new squad also got a newly renovated room on campus.
“The pandemic allowed us to push this program through the school,” Santa Ynez Esports head coach Jason Finley said. “They really supported us and championed it in.”
Competing in games such as Super Smash Bros and Rocket League, the Pirates are one of only two — San Marcos is also competing — high school Esports teams in Santa Barbara County.
“Sometimes video games are looked at as not as competitive,” Prendergast said.
“With the way the games are played, we treat it like a sport,” Finley said. “I consider them athletes.”
The coach says that his students can learn a lot from video games.
“When we’re in a game, all my teammates and I are communicating,” Prendergast said. “We all try to be on a synchronized page.”
As things open up this spring, the team has struggled at times, while losing athletes to other sports.
“It’s made it tough but we’ve pushed through,” Finley said. “We’ve been semi-successful for our first year competing.”
These are also more than just video games, as some colleges have started offering students scholarships.
“it’s offering a lot more as in scholarships and teams that offer people recruitment out of high school,” Prendergast concluded.
The Pirates spring season will wrap up at the end of May.