THE GAME ROOM PODCAST | Episode 1 feat. Joya Whittington

THE GAME ROOM PODCAST | Episode 1 feat. Joya Whittington


…at the beginning when he said, “Why are
you under estimating me?” -I thought you were talking about the hockey interview. -Oh, now I have to know about the hockey interview! -Joya’s like, “And we brought Teddy in because he knows nothing about hockey.” -Wrong. I was trying to show how we all help each other. I was like, “Yeah, like take Teddy for example. He probably doesn’t know a lot about hockey.” I have skates in my truck. Teddy’s like, “Actually, I know a lot about hockey.” I was like, “Oh, my god, I’m so sorry!” I really don’t, though. The Game Room is a production of
Lackawanna College, serving students graduates, and our surrounding
communities since 1894. This episode is supported by Mountain Dew® Amp® Game Fuel®.
Learn more at gamefuel.com. What’s up, ladies and gentlemen? I am Teddy Delaney the eSports program director. We are here in the Lackawanna College Presidential
boardroom. This is The Game Room. I’m Robert Eskra, and, yes, we did not stage
this – this is what the boardroom actually looks like in its natural state.
-How quaint! Yes, this podcast is going to be solely
focused on everything collegiate eSports. You want the teams, you want the players,
you want the big events. We got it right here.
-And we are going to always every
week give you the latest updates related to eSports with a special guest and then
a little wrap-up at the end just for you. -Yes, it’s gonna be a lot of information
on everything that you need to know that’s going on in the collegiate
eSports world and we’re gonna start today just like we start every episode:
with this week’s “Patch Notes.” (MUSIC) In 2018, we had three huge matchups in
League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. The 2018 Fiesta Bowl Overwatch
Collegiate National Championship was held in California between UC Berkeley
and UC Irvine. UC Berkeley are the two-time champs. They came in with a 3-0
sweep against their rival UC Irvine who are just right up the road.
They won $7,000 per player in this match. -I love this team, Teddy. I have to say UC
Berkeley, they came in and this was their second match. The comeback kings. They came in second season, completely brand new team.
Everybody thought that they were gonna stumble out the gate and they put it
together. And their comp, it’s half of them can play every player on the roster,
half of them can only play one. But it’s — it’s — they just dominate.
-Yeah it’s
crazy to see that talent. And last year they beat Rutgers, they beat University
of Texas, and they beat University of Toronto and again they beat University
of Toronto in semi finals to make it to UC Irvine. It was a crazy matchup and
again, they’re defending champs. They’re going to come back strong this year in 2019.
Moving on to the 2018 League of Legends college championship, we had UC Irvine
versus Columbia College. Another packed lineup. Second seeded UC Irvine beat the
fifth seeded Columbia College and another 3-0 sweep. Again these teams
are crazy to watch — the strats… -I mean with this, this is the
exact opposite of UC Berkeley. With Irvine they spent two years building
their team, working together, getting to so that they can just play without
even talking to each other.
-Yeah.
-And they came in and just dominated the
competition.
-Absolutely and again the entire UC Irvine team is returning back
for the next two years so they’re looking to be at the powerhouse for the
next two years in League of Legends.
-Gonna keep our eye on them.
-Gonna be a big contender, absolutely. Moving forward to the 2018 college
Rocket League championship, we had Arizona University versus the University
of Northern Texas. Now, the championship this year
was in northern Texas in Arlington in the esports facility, so they had
a big matchup against a huge hometown crowd and something amazing happened in this matchup because they had a best-of-seven and the University of
Northern Texas actually beat them in the first best-of-seven which in the 2018
Rocket League collegiate series there is a bracket reset, and they had to play
another game of seven but Arizona University came out on top in only four
games and it was pretty impressive to watch.
-If you can get a look at that
match there’s a point at which when they come back and they win, one of the
players takes off his headphones and slams on table – broke it right in half.
-Yeah, absolutely, it’s crazy. You see the interactions. I love being able to watch
the reactions from both teams and you see the frustration, you see the moments,
you see them congratulating each other. It’s truly fun to watch.
-It’s the
fact that these kids are so passionate about what they do and and it shows
because they truly are the best of the best in this world.
-Alright, and that’s
gonna do it for this week’s “Patch Notes.” (ALARM SOUNDS) Coming up next, we have our guest today.
She is the athletic director here at Lackawanna College. She is the women’s
basketball coach here at Lackawanna College. She’s also one of our close
friends. Her name is Joya Whittington and we’re going to have her right here in the hot seat to ask
her a few questions about eSports. All right, and before we bring our guest
Joya in let’s take a brief word from our sponsors.

-Our stadium may not hold 100,000 people but we still compete with other colleges all over the country.
-Giant lecture halls? Eh, that’s not really for me. I like the laid-back
approach.
-Lackawanna is close to home with satellite centers located
throughout North Eastern and Central PA. -Lackawanna College: helping me help you.
-The choice is yours to make. -Changing how I learn.
-Changing where I learn.
-Changing my life. -We are happy to be sitting here with Joey Whittington. She
is the athletic director here at Lackawanna College, she is also the head
women’s basketball coach. Joya, thanks for being on with us.
-Thanks, Teddy. -Absolutely. So we just wanted to ask you a few questions based
around the esports program and around Lackawanna College in general. So tell me,
Joya, what did you know if anything about eSports before this all came to be?
-Absolutely nothing.
-Yeah, I get that a lot. From a lot of people that we talk about.
You know, it’s a whole new world, it’s the wild, wild west. -Wickey wild, wicky wild wild west. -There’s a lot of new
avenues to go down here. So how do you feel about the eSports program being
developed here at Lackawanna College? -Yeah, it was crazy because we got
brought into our vice president’s office and she said something about eSports and
I said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
-That’s good.
-But you don’t usually get brought into the vice president’s office
without her having done extensive research at some point about something
that she’s very, very interested in. So we started doing research and the more I
learned the more intrigued I got and then you know starting to understand and
really wrap my brain around that world, what I realized more than anything is
that this is an opportunity for student-athletes
and that was huge and it was a unique opportunity and that’s what we’re all
about here at the college. So it’s really exciting to just kind of dive into that
world and start to see like the passion behind it and the logistics behind it
and said, “All right, we can do it, let’s find a way.”
-Now, I do have – so you
said you had no idea. Did you at least have kind of like an inkling? Did you
know it had to do with video games or anything like that?
-So I mean
the name kind of gave some part of that away but I am a traditional sporter, so I
am like a jock if you can call me that. So gaming was not something that I ever
dabbled into in any capacity. So really just knowing that it’s some kind of
media-based sporting, I really didn’t know much about it.
-So you obviously had
a media reservations about calling something that didn’t require – at least
on its face didn’t require any sort of athletic ability?
-Yes, on its face. -So what
were like the immediate reservations that you had?
-I don’t know about
reservations as much as not knowing about it.
-Okay.
-So it’s not – it wasn’t a
world that I understood so of course that kind of sparked some like, “Hold on,
you know, if I’m gonna be leading this, I better know as much as I possibly can
about it?”
-Yeah, well, I mean that’s smart because most people just kind of
assume things and then just be like, “Nonono. I’m gonna ingrain myself in my own
ideas.”
-Right.
-Yeah, yes, exactly, and that’s something that we’ve tried really hard,
to pull away from some of those stigmas. You know, we’re not we’re not basement
dwellers. We’re not keeping them locked in a facility all day just to play video
games. You know, we get them out. We get them interacting with the college
community, you know, and there’s a lot of similarities that I’ve seen between
traditional sports and eSports, you know? We have to have a routine, we have to set
scheduled practice times, we have to make sure that they’re staying on top of
their grades. I mean, I say this all the time in every interview that I’ve done:
being a good student athlete starts with being a good student. So if we don’t hold
these kids accountable with our grades and that’s obviously something that’s
important to you with your team.
-Yeah, we wanted to really align it with
traditional sports as much as we could. You know and when we sat down
and we brought you guys on board that’s what we talked about was how can we
really – and a lot of people at the college and you know in the
community, they did have their reservations about it. But what I saw
through the hiring process of a head coach and then starting to meet and
understand these student-athletes, it’s an opportunity.
-Absolutely.
-You know, it’s
another opportunity to bring a different kind of student in the door that
otherwise may not have had that opportunity and if we can find a way to
tether them and structure them whether it’s through sport, through eSports,
through you know whatever it is that the college offers, I mean, it’s
the better opportunity we have for retention and graduation and just
competition in general.
-So now we’re in we’re into our first year now so we’ve
been doing a semester and a half with an actual team running. What is – is
there any kind of, still that you’re seeing some problems maybe that you thought you
would see? Are there new problems that you’re seeing? Or are there things that
have completely blown you out of the water as in, like, “Wow, I didn’t think
that would happen and I’m surprised that it did?”
-I think with anything new, there’s
things that we definitely didn’t plan for and I think what we’re seeing
collectively is it’s bigger than what we thought, which is a really good
problem. I think as far as the student-athlete goes in the structure of
the sport in general, it’s really similar. You know, it’s just like Teddy said.
We’re structuring practice times, we’re just adding structure around them to
give them a better opportunity to be successful, and I think our
student-athletes that we have in so far, I think they’re great, and I think it’s
only gonna grow from here so…
-That’s good. -Yeah. Were you surprised at all to see
the girls or the women that were interested in joining this? -A little bit.
I would definitely say a little bit to that, but it’s awesome because one thing
that we’re trying to do with athletics as a whole is really grow the female
population that are participating in sports. It’s tough, and with the
competition that we have around us, it’s really, really hard so to add something
where we can really increase female participation, it’s huge for us as a
whole yeah. -And it doesn’t stop. It just — being co-ed, you know, I mean, it is the
first collegiate co-ed sport where everyone’s included but also
there’s opportunities for people with disabilities, people who are introverted,
people who don’t get out much, you know? It’s really all inclusive and that’s
what we love.
-On that point, there’s an interesting video online about a vet, a military vet who’s playing the new game Apex that had just released this
week —
-Great game, by the way.
-Absolutely. Um, playing it with — he only has one arm and
he plays holding the controller with one hand and his foot.
-Absolutely,
and I think that those are the stories we need to get out there. You usually
can hear and see the negativity that comes behind, you know, “Oh, they’re just
sitting down, they’re gaming.” But what people don’t know is, you know, the
strength and conditioning piece that we added to this
program and how we’re taking them and getting them out there and getting them
active and just making sure that that’s not what they’re doing, you know?
It’s a part of it and and they don’t understand the thinking behind it just
like any other sport. There’s a lot of cognitive thinking where we got to
strategize and we have to work together and it’s been nothing but a
positive experience I think for the whole athletic department.
-And I mean
just being in the room with those — with our athletes, you can see that these
are kids who may not not have been friends otherwise. But they get together
and they — I mean they’re hanging out outside of class. They legitimately enjoy
each other’s company. And when they’re not playing the competitive
games that we have them on, they’re playing other games with each other.
They’re out grabbing bites to eat and all that stuff.
-Yeah, and again, that’s a
big part of traditional sports, too, is creating that culture, creating that
community. Like you said, these kids really didn’t know each other. We had a
lot of kids that moved here to the area that didn’t know anyone and now
they’re best friends with everyone in the room. They go to breakfast, lunch,
dinner together, they hang out on the weekends, you know. It’s awesome to
see that we’ve created that. -It’s a family.
-Yes, ohana means family. So within the
next three to five years or in the near future at Lackawanna College, where do
you hope to see this eSports program? How do you hope to see it grow?
-I think right
now we’re really leading the industry especially in this area, in this region.
We get calls every day about schools that want to come in,
tour our facility. They want us to consult with them and we’re welcoming
that and we’re open to that because our hope is to grow as large as we can
manage right now and create as many teams as we can and add as many
games as we can and as many, you know, levels of competition that we need to
compete in so that, you know, we can continue to pioneer it and drive it and
and be the one in this area that started it.
-Yeah, and I think next semester we’re
really gonna try and corner that market by looking into creating our own
conference, our own leagues so we can take a little more traditional sports
outlook on it. So we can release a schedule and have an easier process
going through those 15-week games.
-Yeah, get all the schools working together so
that we can actually create a larger community outside.
-Yeah, and it’s
just better for the student-athlete. I mean the chaos that we’re going through
trying to structure their week is already hard enough. If we can start to
structure that competition a little bit, we’re just gonna put them in a better
position.
-Absolutely. -Well, we’ll need to get you up there and gaming play
a little car soccer, you know. I’m sure you could probably beat me one-on-one in
basketball.
-As far as I know it’s soccer… with cars.
-It was close enough.
-Yeah, absolutely I think that’s a think that’s a great way to describe it. That’s how I
describe it to the laymans. -And I definitely can beat you in a game of basketball, so when you’re ready.
-We’ll see.
-It’s one block up, you know? -I know where the gym is! Believe it or not. All right, well, thanks
again Joya for being here with us. We’re happy to be a part of the Lackawanna
College community and hopefully we’ll see you around campus soon.
-Absolutely,
thank you, guys. And again we wanted to thank our guest Joya Whittington for sparing some time to be here with us today and from all of us at
The Game Room, I am Teddy… -I’m Rob…
-And thank you for playing! (CHIPTUNE MUSIC)

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