Not your average sport: eSports prepares for future as school sports in Arizona

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- It's not football, baseball, or basketball, but eSports, or computer gaming, is more popular than ever. In fact, high schools in Arizona were getting ready to begin the very first season of team eSports competition in February.

However, organized high school play has been delayed until the fall, giving more schools a chance to build their teams and hardware before play begins. Still, that's not stopping from schools from building teams, training players, and even setting up their own matches.

"We have a ragtag group of kids trying to make a team out of it," said chemistry teacher Steven Dover.

High school kids these days are getting together to play computer video games.

"Hopefully, the AIA will help set up rankings instead of just a random group of kids to play against each other," said Dover.

There is an eSports team at Mesquite High School.

"I just love the game overall, and to get to a competitive level would be awesome," said student Mario.

Some of the high school students at Mesquite High are no strangers to playing computer games.

"Chris has probably hundreds of games under his belt at this point, maybe even thousands," said student Steven.

What's new, however, is a team spirit, as they are learning how to play together to beat a common foe.

"They have the same objective as us," said student Kat. "They have a nexus, and we are both attack and defend."

As for what game or games the players will use in their matches, it's still to be decided. So, Dover says his team is preparing for anything.

"The big ones we originally played are League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, and Smash Brothers," said Dover.

In the meantime, students and coaches at Mesquite are setting up their own contests with other high schools.

"Higley has offered a challenge, 'hey, we want to keep playing, even though the AIA has backed out. Are you guys willing to do it?'" said Dover.

One may think this is a collection of nerds, not real high school athletes.

"We've got some football players in here too and some track kids, people I wouldn't say you wouldn't expect, but not the geek you'd think, so you have a large group of kids all kids are willing to play," said Dover.

As for the players, they play to win.

"You have to be playing almost 24/7, if you want to get really good," said student Savannah.

"Most of them are just trying to play and have a good time and compete with an honest team, and actually have a challenge," said Dover.

"I've played my first match," said Savannah. "Let's just say it didn't go great because I am newer to it, but it's still fun."

Once official high school league play begins, trophies, medals and banners will be awarded to the winners.