Esports and Careers - Intern Spotlight

Author: Yiren Ye

Hi! I’m Yiren, and I’ve recently joined the Digital Schoolhouse team as an events intern. This is my first professional venture into the world of esports, a world I love. I am very excited to share my experiences with you as I learn new skills, hints, tips and tricks along the way alongside the students taking part!

Arriving at Belong, Birmingham :)
Arriving at Belong, Birmingham :)

When looking at the job description to join DSH as an events intern, the first question that came to me was – ‘what is a schools esports tournament?’ My initial thought was that ‘game’ and ‘education’ kind of just don’t go together well in the minds of the general public.

Despite learning from video games so much for the past decade, I still bear the same question in mind. What more can we get from playing video games? And I certainly got more answers from helping to facilitate the past week of DSH’s Nintendo Super Smash Brothers Ultimate esports tournament.

Regionals: Commence! 

This one-week trip to northern England was an eye opener for me, especially as this is my first time living in the UK. The qualifiers took place at Belong Arenas in Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, after many stages of planning behind the scenes. So, my colleagues Amii, Simon and I took the time to get familiar with local game arenas. We’ve been busy for a month, not only because this was the first time the three of us operate an esports tournament, but also because of the countless unforeseeable problems popping up here and there along the way.

A few problems I’ve ran into such as trying to share save data among switches, renewing SSMU rulesets, and creating round robin schedules with odd number of participants, required lots of improvised problem solving and forward-thinking skills. I’ve improved a lot over the past month, but there were still problems after all the preparations. For example, I got asked a question in regard to the order of picking characters, because counter picking a character after your opponent has picked could give a severe advantage to the player. We did not have a dedicated rule for the order of character picking, which would need to be addressed at the elimination matches. But attentions to details like this would be the key to success for an event operator in the world of esports for sure.

Some of the students locked in! 
Some of the students locked in! 

Apart from the development of personal skills, I was also amazed by the students participating in the tournament. They didn’t just take this tournament as any field trip day, but a serious competitive event.

Students would manage their team with training schedules, strategize and adapt during the matches, and show respect to their opponents and teammates with proper sportsmanship. The level of competitiveness and professionalism exceeded my expectations by far. Not just the players, I was amazed by the team names, team logos, and hoodies designed by these students themselves as well as their passion and courage to jump in and broadcast on twitch for the matches. All of them performed brilliantly as panellists and shoutcasters, alongside the players themselves.

All of these skills would continue to develop and become their valuable assets in their further pursue of education and career. My favourite moment was after the Norton College’s deciding victory against St John Fisher Catholic High School. The captain of Norton College approached Mark Ward, the Lead Teacher of St. John Fisher, and invited them to join an esports discord group for training together. This demonstrates the power and value of video games and school esports tournament - bringing together these students with similar interests from different schools and providing them an opportunity to build on their communication skills, teamwork, and to expand that social network among them.

We are running the regionals in the south east this week. We’ll be hosting tournaments at Belong Gaming Arenas across Sutton, Braintree, Grays and Stratford. I can’t wait to see the talent on display from the students, and I’ll be checking in with a new update on my adventure very soon.

If you want to view the tournaments live, you can do so via our dedicated Twitch channel.

Also, if you're reading this and want to involve your school or college in next year's tournament, applications to become a Digital Schoolhouse are currently open. As a Digital Schoolhouse, entering the esports tournament is completely free of charge.