BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan College unveiled the home of their new eSports team, the first in the state of West Virginia.
“This is a historic day for West Virginia Wesleyan College,” President of West Virginia College Dr. Joel Thierstein said. “We are delighted to be the first school in the state of West Virginia to have eSports, and eSports has come a long way.”
The new arena is located in the Administrative Annex Building on the WVWC campus and features Alienware gaming computers and other cutting-edge technologies.
“This is an amazing time,” Thierstein said. “We had Pong when I was a kid, and there’s two people playing on the Pong machine, and now we have arenas full of people watching two people compete at eSports and it’s amazing.”
eSports refers to live video game competitions.
Wesleyan’s eSports Team Coach Kevin Wu said the space is specially made for the team’s gaming requirements.
“Today’s our grand opening so we can formally announce that this is now open and along with that, it’s a really a good opportunity for us because this facility is different from other facilities you have in West Virginia,” Wu said. “What we have here today is a facility that’s designed specifically for the needs of our eSports athletes. They compete on a bit of a different playing field.”
“We have the football players on the field, and this is ours,” he added.
Member of the eSports team Thomas Flannery said he was happy to finally see the facility open.
“I’ve actually had the privilege and opportunity to see this space grow from just this room being nothing but drywall and concrete,” Flannery said. “I was recruited by Wesleyan to come here and be part of this program, and it has been an absolute privilege and honor to be here right now for this opening. I can’t actually explain how important it really is.”
Flannery said it’s important for players to have somewhere to focus on gaming, rather than doing everything in their dorm rooms.
“If this wasn’t here, we would all be playing in our dorms,” Flannery said. “That’s what we have been doing the first week or two of school and we have to watch our volume and the atmosphere that creates, playing and working where you sleep.”
William “Billy” Butcher said having a space for teammates to game together will make them all better.
“I’m a basketball player at heart, so I like being able to be in the same room as my teammates and get to grow with each other and learn with each other instead of just sitting in your room, playing games by yourself,” Butcher said. “It’s really good for us to grow and grow closer together as teammates, and I think it’ll help us a lot in the long run.”