Gamers Gather with New EHS Club


Zach Kennett

Senior Liam Steinmann addresses attendees of the first meeting of esports club on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Caspar Dowdy, Editor-in-chief

About 50 students met in the wrestling center auditorium on Tuesday to get a first glimpse at one of the newest groups at EHS. Senior Liam Steinmann, the student behind it all, was excited to see interest in his new esports club.

“Video games have always been my favorite thing to do with my free time, and I think I’m pretty good at them, so I was curious to see where other people at EHS were at in skill level and maybe even give them a chance to be recognized for their skill,” he said.

Steinmann started the club with help from Spanish teacher Ana Harris, who wanted to give students the opportunity to have an outlet for what she sees as under-appreciated skills.

“Some of these kids who are very good at electronics get completely overlooked, because what our society really pays more attention to is all of the physical activity, the baseball, football, basketball,” she said. “Those are the kids who get the most attention. But how many of these kids who don’t get attention have other skills that we need to recognize?”

The pair met every Wednesday to plan the trajectory of the club after learning of each other’s interest in creating a club. While the club is still in the process of finalizing its presence this year, just getting it off the ground is already a victory for Steinmann.

“My goal originally was just to start the club…” he said. “I just want people like me to have fun with it this year.”

For students like junior Jozie Beedie, who attended Tuesday’s informational meeting, the group has the potential to bring together people who share gaming as a hobby.

“When I heard someone mention playing video games competitively on the announcements it automatically caught my attention,” she said. “I love playing video games and also want to explore more, and getting to play with different people is a good opportunity to become better at games and meet new people.”

While the focus is on fun for now, Steinmann can see room for the group to grow. He said there’s a possibility they could one day raise funds to station PCs and gaming consoles at the school, and that he thinks the club might soon “evolve into a team.”

He said that an EHS esports team could take the form of online tournaments, or, if other high schools in the area follow in Edwardsville’s footsteps, tournaments against esports teams from neighboring districts.

Some of the new club’s members, though, aren’t concerned with the team status as long as they’re able to participate in the hobby.

“Honestly anything is cool with me. I’m just excited to play and learn,” Beedie said. “It would be cool if I could play some Mario Kart though.”

As esports grow in popularity, teams have popped up at college campuses across Illinois. But high schools in the area are just starting to catch on.

It’s a trend that Harris hopes will continue, creating a way to recognize students whose talents might not otherwise be celebrated. She recalled seeing her own son, a tennis player, be recognized for his skills and realized that other families don’t get the opportunity to see their child’s talent appreciated.

“I know, as a mother, what it feels like. And I think it’s unfair for mothers to know that their kids should deserve recognition, and they’ll never see a medal,” she said. “I am totally devoted to making sure those parents can get the same feeling of pride.”