Esports trend hits A+ Charter School –

Esports trend hits A+ Charter School –

Maricopa Esports coaches work one-on-one with students in an after-school practice at A+ Charter School. | Photo by Ian Roberds

Esports is growing in popularity around the country and the world. In 2019, the video-game competitions boasted an estimated 454 million worldwide viewers and revenues over $1 billion.

A+ Charter School is in on the action, fielding its own team. The school’s dean of students, Justin Price, doubles as its esports coach.

“Esports does a lot more for kids than just playing a game and mashing buttons,” Price said. “It does teach them teamwork, collaboration, patience. What we see in game lab is a lot more than a game at home.”

There is some debate about whether esports rise to the level of a “sport,” and even some who participate aren’t sure.

“It is and isn’t at the same time,” said Alex Rickert, a member of the A+ esports team. “It is because it’s played on a professional level and there are tournaments around world playing for thousands of dollars in prize money. Some don’t consider it a sport because there is no running and jumping; there’s no physical attributes involved. But it’s definitely competitive.”

A+ athletic director and