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Juniata Esports: We Work Hard and Game Hard

Theo Weinberger ’21, Multi-Sport Athlete

Just like there is no one “right way” for a person to go about finding their place in the Juniata community, I didn’t join the JC Eagles Esports team the “right way.” I didn’t have any knowledge of who or what would be waiting for me when I followed the flyer leading me to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate Team tryouts. As I meandered through the front door of the ESports Lounge neighboring the Tussey and Terrace Dorms, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be on the team yet. This doubt disappeared when the team captain invited me to take part in the tryouts.

The Juniata College ESports Lounge

I realized that playing and having access to their homey lounge would be a cool perk of playing on the team. Although changing the structure of tryouts to accommodate my last minute entry would be a hassle, no one seemed to mind. Even during a CoVid-19 semester and with masks blocking half of our face, the Smash team went the extra mile to welcome me on that day as they would any other year despite the barriers. Going the extra mile in this case also meant mercilessly destroying me each round and upholding their reputation as a competitive Esports team. This competitiveness is what led me to join their team. 

I was assigned to the C-Team in tryouts, but learned that on the Esports team promotion is not only encouraged, but inevitable. After tryouts I was still hesitant to stick with it. As I kept coming to practice I worked my way up from C-Team. As I practiced Smash more and more, I realized that the Smash team and Esports community was the missing link that I needed during my CoVid semester. When most other sports had little competition and limited practice, I got the opportunity to play with a team that welcomed me with open arms. Together we compete in tournaments, and put on local tournaments and practices which still allowed me to embrace my competitive spirit. 

Placing third in the Steve (from Minecraft) only Smash Bros Tournament was one of the most memorable nights I’ve had with these guys. We set up a bracket play where we can only use the character Steve from Minecraft, a game that I’ve never played before, but somehow I still managed to clutch out a victory against some of the best players on our team, eventually losing to our captain, whose player name is Hops. 

At the end of our season, I was given an amazing opportunity to play on the Landmark Conference team. Together with the A-team, we went to war against Drew College for the most important game of the season: The Landmark Conference Championship. The game was broadcast on the Juniata College esports twitch channel, and we put on a great show. Adam “Skorvak”, Jon “Hops”, and I were all able to claim victories in our matchups with our 3 Drew opponents, while Ryan “Huggins” was able to put up an amazing fight against Drew’s captain. We earned a stunning 3-1 victory against Drew.What’s next for us you might ask? The smash team has one goal, to fight for the ECAC championship. This goal won’t be easy, but with any Esports team at Juniata we work hard and game harder. Are you ready to join us to play our way?