[This article current as of December 10, 2023]

One passion for many students is video games. Many go home and play for hours online with their friends working towards improving their teamwork and building friendships. With the rise of video games, for years, students have pushed for video games to be included as a school-based extracurricular activity. Over the last twenty years, Esports have become more common, rapidly growing to include in-person and online tournaments around the world, eventually reaching our high schools and universities. This is the second year that the Varsity Esports and STEM League (VESL) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro have partnered with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to create Esports tournaments. 

North Mecklenburg High School has become a major team within the league, with its Valorant A-team striving towards regionals. North Mecklenburg’s SSJPiplup was the only person during the qualifiers to take a single life from last year's state champion, Pikamare, from Ardrey Kell in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. North Meck’s up-and-coming Call of Duty team competed last week as well and despite having at most two days to practice they still won a round. The Overwatch 2 A-team, most of whom are freshmen, earned 1 win and 2 losses against several teams of seniors. The Fortnite team played their hardest in October as well. 

How can you join the team? Stop by the Esports club on Thursdays between 2:30 to 3:30 in room J201 to inquire about joining the team and being added to the VESL discord server. While there, you will earn a sense of comradery, connect with others who share your passions, and enjoy playing your favorite game. 

Currently, North Mecklenburg has teams for Valorant, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Overwatch 2, Fortnite, Call of Duty, and more. Be sure to suggest additional competitive video games to be added to North Mecklenburg’s team as well as to Varsity Esports and STEM League.  Games are continuously being added. While at the Esports club, you can also play many video games with the other members.

You can support the team by watching Varsity Esports and STEM League’s streams on Youtube at @VESLGG and Twitch at twitch.tv/vesl. Check out their website at VESL.gg for the schedule and merchandise. Watch the Regionals on January 20th and 21st, 2024, and Finals on February 3rd and 4th, 2024. 🆅