Bartlesville Students Learn Teamwork Through E-Sports Program

Athletics are an easy way for kids to have fun while learning valuable skills. Nowadays, there's a new path kids can take--with a headset, monitor, and controller.

Friday, November 3rd 2023, 6:50 pm



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Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry.

And now, with e-sports, that popularity is creating opportunities for kids to play together on a team.

Athletics are an easy way for kids to have fun while learning valuable skills.

Nowadays, there's a new path kids can take--with a headset, monitor, and controller.

John Merritt coaches the On The Rock E-Sports team in Bartlesville.

After playing soccer as a kid, he's taking what he learned from the sport and applying it to this one.

"The values I learned from soccer was teamwork, discipline, just how to build relationships with people in a way where you can function in a unit and so being able to take those skills and apply them to e-sports and getting kids in a community of people, I think is really important," John said.

More than 60 kids are on his roster.

"We usually see 2 to 4 kids ask to join every week," he said.

They gather 5 days a week to play other schools nationwide with just a click of a button.

He's recruited mentors like Jedidiah Lowe to provide healthy guidance for these kids.

"You just see the friendships budding,” said Jedidiah. “Little teasing here and there, but they are all having fun, and it's amazing. They put so much work into it."

It may be nontraditional, but John says the opportunities e-sports could provide for these kids in the future are endless.

“Why would you not want to create an environment for these kids to be able to go to that has healthy structure that can help them implement discipline,” he said. “That way, they're not blowing 8 hours a day playing, but they're taking those hours and working as a unit and as a team, and then they can potentially get a college scholarship for it."

They're getting all the same benefits of traditional sports while sitting down.

"Their parents walking up and talking to me about how this is the first time that they're getting outside of their comfort zone, and they're blossoming and lighting up,” John said. “To me, that just made it worth it."

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