SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --
The 1st Space Operations Squadron earned a 3-2 victory over the 4th Space Operations Squadron during the 2018 Overwatch Championship Intramural Finals in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sept. 7.
Overwatch is a team-based video game in which teams of six compete against each other to complete and hold onto objectives.
Each player plays as a hero, a specialized character with his/her own unique traits which contribute to the team. Heroes can be healers, tanks (larger characters capable of taking and dealing large amounts of hit point damage), as well as defensive and offensive.
The tournament match featured a capture/defend the payload format, in which one team works to advance a mobile payload to reach the goal, while another team tries their best to stall their progress until the time limit expires. The 1st SOPS team earned their victory by successfully reaching the goal to earn the full three points over the 4th SOPS two.
Their victory will contribute to the team’s standing in the Commander’s Cup.
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Gulke, section chief with 1st SOPS, rallied behind his squadron.
“We fought our way up the ranks, and this event topped it off,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Unfortunately for the 4th SOPS, they were short one player. This was a large disadvantage, as team composition is essential, and every player counts.
Gulke shared how despite this, the 4th SOPS team were great competitors.
“They put up a good fight, even for being down one person,” he said. “Their team was great during the season and it showed.”
Airman 1st Class Wade Manchio, radio frequency technician with the 4th SOPS, said he enjoyed the challenge and the heated match.
“While we were lacking players, we still had a good time,” he said. “The 1st SOPS played well and their team was cohesive and communicative.”
The event highlights the rise of esports, professional video gaming competitions which require the same team coordination, communication and strategy as many recreational sports.
Once primarily held in gaming room lounges and college dormitories, esports has evolved to become a multimillion dollar industry with events that fill stadiums.
Capt. Raymond Adams, commander’s action group with the 50th Operations Group, expressed his passion for esports and the benefits it brings to Schriever Airmen.
“These events provide leadership opportunities, improved communication skills, and a way for those who love gaming to scratch that competitive itch,” he said. “The players came together as a squadron, practicing, coming up with strategies and competing together over the past six weeks. What would have been something they played in their off time by themselves or with a friend from back home becomes a way to connect with people here on Schriever AFB.”
Gulke said he witnessed both squadrons bond through the competition.
“This event was an avenue to bring us together,” he said. “Esports lets anybody play, it opens up the competition for all of us.”
Adams said while he is currently the lead organizer for Schriever AFB esports events, he will not always occupy the role, and seeks new Airmen to carry the torch and expand Schriever AFB’s esport scene in the future.
“It would be really great if we could take this outside of Schriever AFB and challenge Peterson Air Force Base at some point,” he said. “If this helps connect people and give them more unit camaraderie, I'm all for it.”
As long as there’s esports competitions, Manchio said he and others will be there to play.
“Any game, any time,” he said. “These events are great for the individual and the team.”
For more information on esports and how to organize a competition, contact Adams at 567-4471.
Current 2018 Commander’s Cup standings:
1. 50th Operations Support Squadron – 1,410
2. 4th SOPS – 1,360 points
3. 50th Space Communications Squadron, 1st SOPS – tied at 735 points
4. 2nd Space Operations Squadron – 635 points