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Cardinal Esports: A way to connect during the Pandemic

While most of the world has come to a standstill in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Lamar University’s Cardinal Esports team is emerging into 2020 with a track record of success, socializing through a shared esportsaffection for the world of online gaming.

Founded in Fall 2019, the Cardinal Esports organization promotes Esports at LU. With video games – “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “Super Smash Bros.” and “Rocket League” - in the group’s professional repertoire, the team has participated competitively in tournaments and pick-up matches, winning over other collegiate Esports teams such as SMU and Rice. Now that the tournaments have slowed down due to the outbreak, Cardinal Esports is looking to close the gap social distancing created among LU students the best way they know how – video games.

“Staying socially active is a great part of many people’s lives and some people have lost their ability to participate in social activities in these unprecedented times,” said Jason Chambliss, junior and Cardinal Esports president. “Video games create a safe, healthy environment for individuals to continue interacting with others.”

Chambliss and the Cardinal Esports team created a Minecraft server to facilitate interaction among LU students, a safe and wholesome way of circumventing stay-at-home orders and potentially threatening conditions outside. “Within this server, students can interact in a virtual, social environment during this time of social distancing,” said Chambliss.

“Our presence in person may have slowed, but our presence online has sky-rocketed,” said Delicia Rocha, sophomore and co-director of communications for Cardinal Esports. A film major, Rocha unwinds from her school workload by playing “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and “Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” both Nintendo exclusives. “Playing these games has helped me cope with this pandemic and has made me look at video games in a new perspective – one that brings us all together.”

The leaders of Cardinal Esports are making plans beyond the current circumstances. “While the current COVID-19 pandemic has halted classes and all in-person events at Lamar University, it has not halted what we have going on at Cardinal Esports,” said Timothy Cohrs, freshman and co-director of communications. “We had a virtual office meeting last week and had a great time hearing how each other are doing through this pandemic and planning out our events from spring 2020 to winter 2021.” Cohrs spends his free time playing “Fortnite” and “Call of Duty,” among other games.

While the Cardinal Esports team focuses on schoolwork as well as organization operations for the future, they’ve made progress in helping each other as well as their fellow LU students in coping with the pandemic. “Cardinal Esports at Lamar University has served as a gateway to keep students connecting and interacting with one another,” said Chambliss. “We’re embracing video games as an outlet and resource for students who want to stay connected.”