New Zealand’s Mount Albert Grammar took out the 2020 META High School Esports Rocket League Championship after a win over Victoria’s Yarra Valley Grammar.
The school, who were finalists in the 2019 competition, were able to get their redemption and best their efforts.
The team, consisting of year 13 students Drewbie and Arky, along with their newest recruit, APL Crash — a year 11 student — spoke to Snowball Esports late last year about their time in the competition and how it’s shaped their schooling experience. Their teacher Mr. Su, an avid gamer himself, was also in attendance, speaking glowingly about the year the esports club has had.
“It’s been good, at the beginning schools are unsure about it, but the school has had an esports culture for 3-4 years now and it’s a matter of growing and developing it, getting some success,” the Mount Albert Grammar teacher said.
“You’d be amazed at how many teachers congratulate the team. It’s really growing within the school community.”
“I have to ensure people are in the right headspace and help build out an inclusive team environment.”— META High School Esports (@METAhse) August 27, 2020
Learn about the META New Zealand Rocket League Champions from Mount Albert Grammar School and their success story.
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It was originally Mr. Su’s idea to form the school’s competitive team, a decision that seems to have paid spades for the now title-winning META High School Esports roster.
“I’ve always been interested in games and esports since a young age, one of the first things that popped up when I joined MAGs was they had an esports club. As it turned out the previous teacher in charge was in the same form class as me, so it went from there,” he said.
“Following from that reached out with what games were available, it was initially just league of legends and then rocket league, then finding out what students were interested in. We had a great response, 20 students at least were really keen to get involved.”
Mr. Su also sees the benefits of esports programs within many schools.
“It builds commitments for students, learning how to balance your training with your schooling, with the stigmas that go around with games usually it’s very important the players communicate what is happening with the school, their parents etc,” he explained.
“The bond between teachers and students from this program has been amazing, it helps build that relationship and gives another way for teachers to connect with their students.
“Esports also help teach kids things like communication, mental fortitude, perseverance. It builds character and it’s something people don’t quite understand yet.”
For the students, it’s been a year of growth and learning, forming friendships that they would have made thanks to video games.
“We started early on wanting to get training in before the tournament started, Drew and I didn’t know APL Crash too well, but we’ve definitely bonded over the game and formed friendships outside of the game itself,” player Arky said.
“Teamwork is essential to the game, it’s been great having a strong team we can rely on.”
APL Crash added that he too had learned a lot about the game training and playing with his new teammates over the course of the 2020 season.
“One of them was commitment, if one slacks off it affects the others, it’s always trying your best even in training,” he told Snowball. “Another thing was the importance of your mentality, despite this being a physical game, a lot of it is about your mentality and if one of us are in the wrong mindset then it affects the team.”
Finally, Drewbie praised the competition for giving him, and his winning teammates, a chance to represent his school on the national esports stage, while forming friendships.
“It’s a great opportunity to represent your school in a new industry, I feel like a pioneer in esports for high schools, which is an important thing to do and I’ve had lots of fun doing it,” he said when asked about META’s best moments.
“I’ve met people I wouldn’t usually meet and made more friends through our club, it helped me develop my social skills, despite it being seen as an anti-social activity, it’s anything but.”
In 2021, APL Crash will totally take the reins. Drewbie and Arky are attending university, and hope to join esports clubs there, if they “get the chance.”
“I have one teammate in mind who I want to recruit for next year,” Crash revealed, “and if he keeps improving at the rate he’s going I’m feeling confident about our chances competing in META next year despite losing Drewbie and Arky.”
Congratulations to Mount Albert Grammar on a fantastic year in the META HSE Rocket League competition!
Watch the full interview on the Snowball Esports YouTube.
If you’d like to start your own esports club in your high school and compete in this year’s tournaments be sure to check out the META HSE website.