Langara’s esports team Black opens season with a bang

The college's last competitive sports teams split their first games

League of Legends winning screen displayed for Langara's Team Black.
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By Veronika Khvoro

Entering the Collegiate Starleague Langara’s esports teams walked away with mixed results to start the season, with Team Black winning and Team Orange taking a loss.

Two teams of the Langara Esports Association competed for the very first time in the North American division of the international League of Legends tournament on Oct. 24. The league, which includes universities and colleges from across the continent, including local UBC and SFU, runs until Jan. 31 with playoffs beginning in April. 

Team Black prevailed against the University of Denver with 2-1 score, while team Orange lost to the University of California, Santa Barbara at 0-2.

Langara Esports Association is the only sports organization currently active on campus, as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated traditional athletics. Sport fans have been unable to attend games they might normally be used to, such as basketball and soccer. 

Team Black abuzz after unexpected win

Nelson Than, a member of the Black team, intended to us their victory against the big-name school as motivation to keep improving, “[Our goal] is to learn, become better players and, of course, try to win the entire thing.” 

“We lost, but it’s all part of the learning process,” team Orange player Faith Vaughan said, “We are very hard-working, and we’ve grown so strong as a team this past week.” 

All 10 of the Langara athletes participating in the tournament were competing for the first time. Vaughan said that she feels confident in her team, because they have “the best coach.” 

The teams’ coach is Lawrence “Trance” Amador, a second-year business student at Langara and a former professional player. Amador recently earned the “Challenger” rank in the League of Legends, placing him among 200 best players in North America. 

“We are here to win first place, with the side goal of destroying UBC and SFU,” said Amador. “You gotta have some school spirit.” With a total of $10,000 USD in prizes, the first place team walks away with $5,000, adding a lot of incentive for teams to play. 

For Lilith Wu, who handles communications and management of the teams, most of the work is done before the game day. On Saturday, she was watching the games and staying on standby. 

“Ultimately, I want to see them win. But we are also just here to make friends,” said Wu. 

Due to scheduling issues the next game dates have yet to be announced. 

Video clip of Langara’s team Black playing against University of Denver on League of Legends:

 

Playing video games helps students stay connected

With the pandemic, the majority of traditional college sports such as soccer and basketball have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Many students have reported increased stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. So some are looking online for a much-needed sense of community, fun, stress relief — and something to cheer for. Members of the Langara Esports Association say that playing video games together helps them stay connected. Their fans do, too.

Listen to Faith Vaughan, a second-year psychology student and team Orange player, explain how the school’s esports club has proven to be a great social distraction for her

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