Video gamers rejoice — Adair County High School has a newly installed esports team.
Jared Radford has been named the squad’s head coach for the upcoming inaugural season.
“It was open, and we needed a coach,” Radford says. “I thought it would be fun to be the first person to start it.”
For the uninitiated, Radford describes esports as “sanctioned, competitive gaming, to put it in the simplest possible terms.”
The new “sport” has exploded in popularity over the past decade and has drawn considerable participation in Kentucky high schools since it was first sanctioned a few years ago. Radford estimates that almost all the surrounding high schools already have an esports team.
“I would say out of all the counties around this area, there might only be one or two schools that don’t have it now,” he explains.
The team is open to both boys and girls and falls under the governorship of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Teams typically feature at least four or five competitors but often more. Radford says that the games in which his team competes will be determined by student interest and participation numbers.
“There’s a select group of sanctioned games that kind of change a little bit every year,” the coach says. “Those range anywhere from three-person teams to five- or six-person teams. The games we compete in will definitely depend on student interest, which I think has been relatively good so far.”
Esports feature two distinct seasons, one during fall and winter, and another during the spring semester. Radford says that Adair County will compete in the fall/winter season and then gauge interest before deciding whether to compete in the spring.
“We’re going to do the first one and then kind of see how it goes,” he says. “It will depend on how much interest we have. We don’t want to get them burned out or anything like that.”
While Radford, like most people in the area, is new to esports, he’s not new to coaching. He was an assistant in the Adair football program for six years and says he will bring that same drive to win in his new role.
“I’m a competitive person,” he says. “As long as we can get in there and compete against whoever is across from us, I’ll be happy with it. There’s a lot about this that is still unknown, but I think it’ll be fun.”
This post is brought to you as part of Adair Drug Tuesday.