Game on for Madison College Esports

Wolfpack ready to prowl in competitive video gaming.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 7:24 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - You may think because of COVID-19 restrictions in Dane Co. that Madison College sports are not happening, but these athletes found a sport where social distancing is part of the game.

“It was going to be the following school year, but with the current situation we accelerated that timeline knowing that it would be a perfect fit” said Bill Kegler, who is the Esports Coordinator among other rolls in the athletic department at Madison College.

“I didn’t even know the regulations physically, having someone older, but I as just there to learn what I wanted to learn but as soon as Eports came about, I just couldn’t pass it up” said Rod Godov, who is a member of the Wolfpack Esports team.

Yes, Madison College has Esports, but the question is, what is Esports?

When I say competitive video games and compare it to other sports, you’re still getting a knee jerk reaction” Godov added. “People kind of roll their eyes a little bit.”

Joe Hanson is the head coach for the Madison Esports team who said “Esports are competitive video games. Usually run through a number of governing bodies. There’s a number of governing bodies from the middle school level all the way through university level and everywhere in between.”

Kegler added “As far as participation in the first year, we are playing catch up a little bit because everything happened really fast. There were a lot of things Joe and I had to get organized and put in place with anything that is new, so we just sent out surveys for interest.”

And you better believe these student athletes at Madison College are treated the same as if they were playing another sport at the school. The current members never dreamed of playing sports in college and being student athletes.

Ryan Stroede, who is another member of the Wolfpack Esports team said “No, I actually didn’t think it was possible. I went to Madison College to pursue my IT career, so I didn’t have sports in mind.”

Godov added “No, not really. I always thought it would be nice to play a sports outside of bar leagues. I’m 27 but I just thought I’d leave it to the young guys.” He later quipped “I’ve just been a video game nerd my whole life.”

From the time the Atari game console came out in 1977 people could only dream about playing video games on a college team and into the “real world”

“If they kind of kept their eyes open and kind of realized what is going on in the Esports scene, anywhere from the competitive world to the academia world, it’s blowing up huge” said Godov.

Just like other sports, COVID-19 has taken way some of the fun away from the Madison College Esports team.

“It’s been a very cool experience, especially during these times. It’s been very cool to have a team of people to compete with, especially when it’s kind of hard to do it on a football field especially with COVID, but now we can do it online with video games.” said Stroede.

Coach Hanson agrees “Esports are only going to get bigger in the next few years, especially if COVID sticks around.”

For now, it’s “Game On” Wolfpack.

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