Two years ago, Spencer Jedrzejek was an engineering student with an interest in esports.
And so when East Tennessee State University announced the creation of an esports, or competitive video gaming, team in late 2019, Jedrzejek wanted to be involved, and tried out for the “Overwatch” team. Unfortunately, Jedrzejek didn’t have the gaming skills to make the team — but that didn’t stop him from wanting to be involved with the program.
“I wanted to do anything with this team in any way,” Jedrzejek said. “I wanted to be a player first (but) after the first tryout I realized like, oh, I suck compared to all these players — in comparison to some of the people I now call my friends.”
While his gaming abilities didn’t land him a role as a player on the team, he did find a role with them — one that allows him to still use his expertise and knowledge of the game as a commentator for the team’s matches. It’s a role that’s also showed him a career in esports isn’t just a faraway dream, but a realistic option he plans to pursue by returning to school after he graduates to get a graduate certificate in esports management from ETSU.
“I’ve turned something that two-and-a-half years ago I didn’t even consider could be a possible career for me into something that could be a career for me,” Jedrzejek said, “and I’m thankful every day that (Head Esports) Coach Jeff (Shell) and Leigh Nutter, the production manager for ETSU Esports, has allowed me to continue doing this.”
Joining Jedrzejek as broadcasters for this season are Levi Everroad, Chris Moser and Colleen Sharkey. It’s their job to bring energy to the matches, call the game, explain what is going on in-game and breakdown various matchups, all while doing everything they can to keep viewers engaged.
“I always say the role of a broadcaster is just to kind of communicate what is going on, but as the only people who really get to talk when a game is going on, we need to do so much to, one, get people interested, and two, get people to stay there and watch the game more than just ‘Oh, my son is playing’ or ‘Oh, my best friend is on the team’,” Jedrzejek said.
Like Jedrzejek, Sharkey said having a knowledgeable and skilled broadcaster is “key for fan engagement.”
“The teams might be really good and the games that we play might be highly spectated, but we’re the gap that bridges that between them playing in the arena and people that are interested in viewing them,” said Sharkey.
Sharkey, a graduate student in ETSU’s Brand and Media Strategy program, said she has always been interested in gaming since her parents gifted her an original PlayStation two decades ago, but never expected it would lead her to commentating the…
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