More than just a team: an inside look at the GW CSL team

I did what any overly enthusiastic freshman would do. I immediately searched through the eternal list of student organizations for anything to do with StarCraft or, at the very least, video games. I found exactly what I was looking for, “GW Competitive Gaming”. I felt at home before I even contacted my future teammates. I had no idea what I was walking into at the time, but it turned out to be much more than I expected.

The George Washington Competitive Gaming organization runs very well, largely due to its President, Arthur Zysk. Arthur has held his position since the Fall semester of 2011, and it shows. Between a successful LAN event, a 24-hour gaming for charity event, and a trip to New York for Red Bull Battlegrounds, the GW gaming community has been very active. These big events not only draw in new club members, but also draw in people who may not have considered themselves part of the gaming community or people would not have identified as “gamers”. These larger events obviously require a substantial amount of planning and resource allocation, but Arthur manages to organize them extremely well.

The magnificence of these big events shouldn’t be diminished, but the little things are what really makes the team special. For example, during Week 1 of the CSL season, Arthur made each team (Dota, Sc2, LoL D1, and LoL D2) a deal. He said if 3 out of 4 of the teams win, he will host a dinner in his dorm room with bulgogi, pork strips, dumplings, kimchi, rice and vegetables. When three out the four teams won their matches, Arthur fulfilled his end of the deal, and a feast was had. During the meal we talked about our games, what went well, what went poorly, how we can all improve and, of course, how the Sc2 team was the only team to lose. The trash talking was all in good fun and left no one emotionally scarred. Countless team bonding experiences, unrelated to grinding through ladder games or talking about strategy, make the team more than just a team.

The team doesn’t just have events that are unrelated to competition, it also functionally serves its members in many different ways. For example, I know that I can go to older members in the club for anything from advice on which classes are interesting to a good place to eat around campus. In fact, this one club, that officially only focuses on gaming, has been one of the most important resources to me as a freshman. Of course there are resource centers that I could find, where a volunteer would answer all of my questions. Instead, I’m able to ask some of my friends in the gaming club who have majored in topics ranging from history to computer science and studied abroad in places like Seoul, Korea. Having such amazing people has been invaluable.

I joined the GW Competitive Gaming Club to find teammates and people who knew a lot about Starcraft. I found all of that, but I also found friends, mentors and role-models. I found some astonishing individuals who, from what I’ve heard, have had some amazing experiences. I found a passion and enthusiasm in these people that I had never seen before. I found much more than just a team, I found, in the words of Austin Kim, “a family.”