Gaming has been a part of Antonio B.’s life since he and his siblings played “Just Dance” as kids. Today, he is an esports team captain at New Tech High School at B.F. Darell. After three years of being a club member, Antonio has made several friends and gotten out of his comfort zone.
“At first I was super quiet. I found a senior who helped me be more outgoing. Then, last year I became captain of the team. It helped me learn how to lead a team and eventually I made friends at other schools. It’s comforting knowing someone else has something in common with you, and now I’m more confident meeting other people,” he said.
Antonio’s co-captains, Jarvonte G. and Andrew B. also feel a sense of nostalgia and togetherness when it comes to video games.
“I got interested in gaming when I was four or five years old. I got a Wii for Christmas one year and my dad owned a PlayStation 2. He played it heavily, so together we started playing some older titles which allowed me to have a connection with him, but also got me into Nintendo,” Andrew said.
Jarvonte, on the other hand, found his passion for gaming at his local laundromat. He jumped at any chance to play arcade–style street fighter games so long as his grandmother gave him quarters. The older he became, the more Jarvonte improved, and eventually, the laundromat introduced more arcade games.
For kids like Antonio, Andrew, and Jarvonte, seeing Dallas ISD’s esports clubs grow and develop has been the most amazing part of being a member. “You really don’t expect other people to love the game as much as you,” Andrew said. “I was really surprised to see how many other schools were doing the same thing as us. It caused me to kick-start my competitive nature and feel like I’m growing with people even though we’re miles away from each other, at different schools. It really feels like a big community.”
Dallas ISD is committed to giving students opportunities to turn their passion into a future career by putting on gaming tournaments, holding esports summer camps, and providing equipment such as Nintendo Switches, monitors, PCs, and laptops. The next chance for students to explore gaming is at the “Careers in Gaming Expo” at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 at New Tech High School at B.F. Darrell.