Video games have been a part of Benjamin Boyer’s life for as long as he can remember. Now, he’s using them to glorify God as a member of MACU Esports. Boyer, a junior majoring in sports management, serves as captain of the Super Smash Bros. team as well as student coordinator for the program.
“I have been playing video games for over 22 years at this point, but I never dreamed I would have an opportunity to play at this level,” he said. “I love the comradery that comes with it. It’s like any team sport: you gain relationships with your teammates and they become people that you can go to.” Boyer said he’s also developed a deeper relationship with his coach, Daniel Peaslee. Peaslee has assumed the role of disciple partner to Boyer, allowing them to get to know each other more and learn about the Lord together.
He said he also feels that video games, particularly playing them at a competitive level, help him to prepare for his future career in sports management. “Video games have improved my critical thinking skills and helped me develop and think about strategies,” Boyer said. “I have also learned a lot about teamwork and leadership through multiplayer games.”
Peaslee, who has served as head coach of the Esports program since it launched last February, said that there are still many misconceptions about video games being played competitively, even as the Esports industry has seen exponential growth. “People love to watch athletes play football, ping pong and snowboarding, and now we live in a world where people are able to watch highly skilled players play their favorite games,” Peaslee said. “Last year, people watched Twitch for a combined total of over 17 billion hours — that’s over 1.9 million years. It’s no wonder that the world of Esports is booming, especially when so many people are staying home.”
With MACU’s Esports program entering its second year of competition, Peaslee said he is grateful for how much support the program and its athletes have received. “One of the best things about MACU Esports is the administration buy-in. When we first started Esports, other schools were surprised and shocked at how well-supported our program is from university administrators. MACU’s leadership has the vision and drive to provide this opportunity for our students and move it forward.”
He said unlike other sports, which are limited to regional competition, Esports athletes get the opportunity to play against students at schools from all over the country. That includes many secular colleges and universities, which Peaslee said gives MACU students a great opportunity to spread the love of God through their love of video games.
“One thing that I remind our players is that in all they do, they represent Jesus, their school, their team and themselves,” Peaslee said. “When people play MidAmerica Christian University, our goal is to show them the love of Christ and be excellent examples of children of God.” He said that when MACU wins, it is a victory for Christ because he has given the players the gifts they use in His name.
“Whatever the outcome of each game, we learn how to better ourselves, use what He has given us even better and be examples of God to those around us. In all that we do, we strive to bring honor to Him.”
MACU Esports is currently recruiting students for competitive play. Scholarships are available. Visit www.macu.edu/esports to learn more on how to get started.