The ESports program founded by The Excelsior Springs Parks and Recreation and the Community Center recently garnered some national attention.
For Kendra Beaver, ESPR recreation coordinator and Andy Morris, the community center’s business and marketing manager, however, the end goal remains the same ... finding more ways to get everyone involved.
“The community center’s philosophy is all ages and abilities and ESports encompasses that in total,” Morris said.
ESports, which combines Excelsior Springs and eSports, includes those from all races, genders and abilities, Beaver said.
Morris said participants of their previous tournaments interacted with each other, cheering each other on and making friends. The tournaments show what Parks and Rec should be, he said. Everyone playing, he said, participating and making friends.
“There’s all kind of was to do recreation and to make friends and ESports does that really well,” Morris said.
Morris said they started receiving attention after ESPR Director Nate Williams met with Neelay Bhatt from the National Recreation and Parks Association board. After Williams mentioned the program, Bhatt asked to be kept updated. Bhatt will soon publish an article on the ESports program in National Parks magazine.
Beaver said after she responded on a parks and rec message board offering to answer questions about the program, she began receiving emails from across the country asking for help.
Morris said eSports programs have been popping up everywhere. Various college and universities have started programs and many have started offering scholarships.
In addition to education, eSporters can participate in professional competitions. Beaver said she and Morris plan to play in a competition being held at Parks University this weekend. If players win certain competitions, Morris said, they could retire with the prize money.
ESports’ new competition will be held May 10. Beaver said they’re holding this Mario Kart competition on a Friday evening to help encourage families to participate with each other.
Beaver said they went through all the Grand Prix options to ensure they will have a fair mix of courses. Morris said those who think it would be fun to participate but don’t want to practice may have a shot of doing well in this event due to the less competitive game.
“At the very least, you’ll have a good time,” he said.
Those interested in getting more information on ESports’ Mario Kart competition should visit esparksrec.com. Beaver said they also created a Facebook event for the Gregg Williams Foundation sponsored event.
Morris said he believes ESports to have a bright future ahead of it. He said he doesn’t believe many people realize how big it will be.
Beaver said she just loves how the program seems to bring people together.
“One thing I love about ESports is … the different genders, the different races, the different abilities,” she said. “It’s really cool if you just go in there and everyone is just smiling, having a good time, laughing, clapping.”