Old Rochester esports team takes first place in regional championship
HANOVER — The Old Rochester Regional Junior High School Esports team ended the season on a high note, taking home the first place trophy for the videogame Rocket League in the Massachusetts Middle School Esports League Championship in Hanover on March 11.
“Rocket League” is a video game where players control a car that jumps and drives around an arena with the goal of knocking a ball into a goal.
Old Rochester’s team, named “Slippers,” won 4-0 against Oxford Middle School’s “Firestorm.” This season, the Slippers were undefeated, taking 7 wins against other Massachusetts schools.
“It was really great being able to go to the championship,” said esports coach and Old Rochester engineering teacher Brian Almeida. “I felt like it was a great end to the season and really cemented the idea that they were a team and competing in a sport.”
Another team, “Sons of Zeus,” that plays the videogame “Super Smash Brothers,” a crossover fighting game where characters like Mario, Sonic and Pikachu battle each other, made it to the finals but lost 3-2.
Earlier this season, the school’s team finished their first regular season in first place for all three games they competed in.
Esports are competitive video games played either alone or with a team. Old Rochester Regional Junior High School started an esports team last November.
Almeida has said that while the students enjoy the competitive nature of esports, one of his main goals is teaching “soft skills” that can help his students as gamers and as people.
“I was very happy that the goals we had [set for this program]: school pride, teamwork, sportsmanship and critical thinking were all displayed on Saturday,” said Almeida. “The students chose to all go by bus to the venue together, they shook their opponents hands and showed sportsmanship and they researched and made strategies and then enacted them in the matches.”
Now, said Almedia, with the winter season over, the esports league will take a breather from competing.
“The majority of my team are 7th graders so we should be back next year hopefully competing at an even greater level,” he said.