Recreation and Wellness Center introduced first ever E-Sports tournament

Game design student Ryan Fisher, 17, and journalism student Jonathan Alfano play the second game of the competitive bracket at the E-Sports Extravaganza event on Tuesday Aug 27. Fisher ended up making it to the semi-finals of the bracket. 

The UCF Recreation and Wellness Center is re-inventing contemporary recreation. On Tuesday, Aug. 27 the RWC introduced the first ever E-Sports Extravaganza. 

The event was open to all UCF students and Valencia downtown students. The tournament also gave students the opportunity to view the downtown campus’ new multi-use facility, UnionWest at Creative Village. 

Over 35 participants attended and competed in the Super Smash Brothers tournament at UnionWest. One bracket was for competitive players while the other was for recreational players.

Scott Mauro, marketing and communications manager for the RWC, said inclusivity is a core value of the RWC and their vision is to be a trendsetter for what recreation is. 

“We have to recognize the trends in campus recreation,” Mauro said. “To some people it's fitness or running, but for some students it’s to compete against one another in this type of setting and meet each other.”

Gaming Knights, previously a registered student organization, became a sports club just last year. The sports club council, which was established in 2003, was created to give funding, training and access to facilities to all sports clubs that are part of the council. They also have an esports component at their club and are now one of the 43 sports clubs at the RWC.

Maya Adams, 18, freshman English major, said she attended the event as a way to meet new people.

“It was cool to have this event so I have a casual way of talking to people,” Adams said. “So far people have been really welcoming and the events are really facilitating that.”

The winner of each bracket received an intramural sports champion shirt, the first ones to be given out this school year.

Brandon Brennen, 18, freshman digital media major, was the winner in the recreation bracket.

Brennen said he saw a flyer for the event while exploring the downtown campus. Although he thought there was no chance he would win, he decided to give it a shot.

“I was actually surprised that they [RWC] held an event like this,” Brennen said. “I think its a great idea.” 

Brennen said universities should become more inclusive to esports because of how popular it has become.  

“Esports is becoming big and I’m happy that UCF is one of the universities that is joining in on that,” Brennen said. “They should keep doing it.”

The RWC has been adding esports recently to their line up of programs and services over the last three or four years, Mauro said.

He wants students to realize that the RWC is more than just lifting weights and doing cardio. It’s about social connectivity and bringing people together, Mauro said.

After over two hours in the tournament Steven Dolby, 22, web design major, won overall in the competitive bracket.

Dolby said there was a good mix of competition but he just came out to play.

“This is definitely a good way to get people together," Dolby said. "Smash is a party game at heart, even though people play it competitively.”

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