“GAMING TOXICITY IS A MAJOR CONCERN,” this is a direct quote from the director of technology Adrian Bica that just goes to show how disconnected the district is from students, because apparently the counselors across the district are not capable enough to recognize and stop online toxicity should they see it. “I don’t know what Mr. Bica is going to come with next to prevent me from doing this or that,” said Zack Ross, a coach and counselor here at SRHS. While the coaches and athletes are very ready to get the tournaments started and competition flowing, the district continues to drag their feet and do everything in their power to hinder the club’s development.
Article and graphic by Robert Merrick
As of Wednesday November 10, the newly founded esports club has been indefinitely suspended. In the official newsletter sent out by the Santa Rosa High School coach, Zack Ross, the club was said to have been shut down by the Directory of Technology, Adrian Bica (although no reason was provided). Ross said, in the same newsletter, that he: “WILL NOT TAKE THIS LYING DOWN.” According to Ross, three of the four other coaches for the esports club will also be contesting this ruling.
In an effort to better understand the reasoning behind the closure of the esports club, as well as a better grasp of the nature of the shutdown, I reached out to Adrian Bica. According to Bica, the club was forced to be closed after a miscommunication where, “I asked the coaches multiple times what non first-person shooter games are being played and got no response, so my assumption is they are all asking for first-person shooting games.” For non-competitive players, first person shooters are a genre of game in which the player plays from the first person perspective, or as if you were seeing through the characters eyes. The player uses an array of weapons, usually firearms, to kill enemies which, in the case of Valorant, are other players.
However, while Bica insisted that the coaches were at fault, Ross, one of the coaches, believed that Bica is clearly in the wrong, “This seems to be more of just a power grab.”
In my honest opinion the entire esports club could have been handled much better. First of all, using a shooter game is bound to slow the process up; yes it does have a massive competitive scene however, it being a shooter game was bound to result in friction between the district and the club. That said, the district’s reasoning for not allowing this game is based on faulty science that has been proven wrong time and time again. Yes, they do tend to increase aggressiveness for a short period after playing but, in terms of long term increase in violence: there is no connection.
While the esports club is an amazing idea that must be supported, the fact that they opted to choose such a “controversial” game wasn’t the wisest decision. However, once again, the lack of good faith shown by the district is aggravating to students and especially for the potential athletes. Instead of helping this newly created club they have done nothing but hinder its unbelievable potential.
Because of the massive scale and support for the esports industry by students and staff alike, the fact that the district is so opposed is bewildering. There are so many better things to focus on, this is a harmless club that is doing a better job of engaging students than the district has done in years; and if the district was able to focus their energy away from trying to stop something that is inevitable while instead, they should just let it thrive, than the entire district would benefit from having a new wonderful multi-school program.