Palmer grad is Mat-Su district’s first college-level esports player – KTVA 11


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Tuesday, August 4th 2020, 5:22 PM AKDT

Updated:

At first glance, Tobin Hushower might just look like a teenager playing video games on his summer vacation.

But the Palmer High School graduate is actually honing his esports skills.

“I’ve always loved multi-player games. Playing with all my friends, even playing with strangers sometimes,” Tobin Hushower said.

Esports is essentially competitive online gaming.

Tobin Hushower specializes in a game called Rocket League, which is kind of like a soccer game played with flying cars.

“It’s a lot more complicated than that but that’s it boiled down to its basics,” he said.

During the coronavirus pandemic he spent a lot of time playing with his younger brother. Because of the digital nature of the sport, he’s been able to keep up with his friends and teammates, too.

“The wonder of esports is that you can practice from anywhere as long as you’ve got a computer or a console at home that you can play from,” Tobin Hushower said.

As an avid, lifelong videogame player, Tobin Hushower was excited when his high school formed its own esports team in 2018. His mom, Carol Hushower, wasn’t quite on board.

“I thought what the heck, they’re going to play video games,” she said.

It didn’t take long before she saw it was much more than that.

“I was just completely blown away with how much teamwork is involved, communication, leadership. They’ve got their own positions to play,” Carol Hushower said.

On Tuesday, Tobin Hushower signed a letter of intent to play eports for Wichita State University.

The school’s athletics teams are part Division 1 of the American Athletic Conference. The university’s esports team isn’t a part of that league — participating instead in the the National Association of Collegiate eSports and other competitive collegiate leagues.

Tobin Hushower will be the Matanuska-Susitna School District’s first graduate to play competitive esports at such a high level.

“Without being on the esports team at my high school, I probably wouldn’t have made the team at the college,” he said.

He’ll soak up the last moments playing at home before he heads out for his next adventure. Tobin Hushower will be 18 on Friday and leaves for school in Kansas the next day.

“I had always hoped, I had always dreamed of it, but I didn’t ever know if I was going to make it. But now that it’s actually happening, I’m extremely excited,” Tobin Hushower said.

He plans to study aerospace engineering and possibly minor in esports management.

Copyright 2020 KTVA. All rights reserved.

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