A new age of club sports at Montclair State University has arrived and the success has only just begun. In 2019, two esports fans decided to form a club that involved their passion of video games. The club started out as only two people and, in one year, grew into a club with 30 active people.
Christian Kohlmayer, a senior computer science major, and Jordan Lewis, a senior information technology major, are the founders of the club and quickly began to expand the team.
The two were roommates when they had the idea to start an esports team at Montclair State. Kohlmayer is the current president and Lewis is the vice president. Along with them, there are three other members on the editorial board to help run the whole program.
“When I decided to go to Montclair [State] I knew there was no club for esports, but I knew I wanted to start it up,” Kohlmayer said.
Kohlmayer has always been into video games and hopes to work in the industry of esports in the future. He is hoping to build a great environment for this type of activity at Montclair State, and a successful one at that.
Much like Kohlmayer, Lewis also has a passion for video games and loves to compete. In the club, he has been able to meet many people that share the same interest as him and hopes to one day find a career in the esports industry.
“Being a part of this club has definitely helped me develop my skills further in any game I play,” Lewis said. “Aside from gaming, I have met and networked with so many people in the esports industry and I feel that also creates an opening for possible jobs in the future.”
Some recent success came at an Andbox tournament, where the team’s Call Of Duty duo placed fourth. They finished only behind big-time esports schools like New York University and Rutgers University.
The team also enjoys spending time together by hosting watch parties while big tournaments are in play. This is where the company Tespa will give the club giveaways, prizes and equipment in hopes of growing the sport at the college level.
The esports club at Montclair State also allows people who are interested in joining the club to be a fan instead of having to compete. This allows students to get a feel of what they are getting into while also getting the chance to chat with their fellow students who are playing in tournaments.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, it seems that the safest sport for social distancing is in fact competitive gaming through esports. This is because there is no requirement for contact or requirement to even be in the same room as your competition. This allows the club to continue even during these unprecedented times.
“We are hoping to host online events from this point on,” Kohlmayer said. “We are thinking about doing a community game night or maybe starting a Minecraft server for all the teams sometime in the future to keep things interesting.”
Practicing fully online at the moment can be difficult to find camaraderie, yet Kohlmayer says that everyone gets along really well and practices can be a lot of fun. There was hope to have a location to practice, but due to the pandemic and new safety rules implemented to follow, that plan has been halted.
Growing the program for students at Montclair State and for people that could attend in the future is a huge goal for this team. Growing an everlasting esports community at Montclair State could lead to something like a gaming center or a place meant for the association to gather and practice. This would be the team’s ultimate achievement.
“We want to create a community where people know who we are,” Kohlmayer said. “We want the people to attend Montclair [State] in hopes of being apart of the esports program.”
“We really just want people to come out and give it a try,” Kohlmayer said. “Players on the team come from many different backgrounds and majors. [What is] most important is that they all have a passion for video games and gaming overall.”
One way to keep up with the program is by following the Montclair State Esports club on Instagram @montclair_esports and on Twitter @MSUCyberHawks.