We know San Antonio is a hotbed for scholarship athletes, and now e-sports falls into that category.
Our latest Great Graduate, Fernando Garcia, is a CAST Tech High School student who not only started his school’s e-sports team, but is also the first e-sports scholarship athlete for the Texas A&M system.
“This is a varsity letterman jacket and this means the world to me. I ended up creating the e-sports program here,” Garcia said.
Like so many people, Garcia grew up playing video games. He said it was a casual hobby with friends.
“When I first started playing in EA Sports, I didn’t believe that was a sport, especially coming in from an athletic background during Olympic-style Taekwondo, football, basketball, the whole deal. But after playing a grand final series of over five hours, playing all the maps possible for best of five series, it was grueling,” Garcia said.
Fernando started his mission of starting his school’s team.
“I first started creating the program here back when I was a freshman. I received a bunch of no; a lot of teachers didn’t really believe in the idea of EA Sports and people wasting time playing video games, especially during classes,” Garcia said.
And like sports teams across the country, you need the right talent to win.
“I’ve recruited multiple players to come here to the high school and to get multiple different teams, especially for Rainbow Six. I’ve had people come in from John Jay, from Burbank and multiple other schools throughout San Antonio,” Garcia said.
And in some cases, e-sports/video games are an incentive for students to get their work done, pass classes, and graduate.
“I’ve actually convinced some students that never had the idea of going to college afterwards and they’re attending the same university as me. They went from not caring about school to going to be playing for an e-sports team at the university level. It’s crazy,” Garcia said.
There are still people who think video games shouldn’t be classified as sports.
Still, it’s competitive, it’s growing across the world, and you can play at any time, anywhere, against any one.
“The fact that video games is growing to that level to have millions of dollars to end up franchising is crazy. Now, universities are popping up here and there to have more programs themselves offering scholarships and same thing at the high school level. And it’s crazy to see how many teams, thousands upon thousands of high schools competing in the high school, EA Sports League and multiple other leagues across the nation,” Garcia said.
So, what’s the next step for Fernando? He’s striving to be a college athlete.
“I’m going to be competing at the collegiate level, so I’m going to be attending Texas A&M, San Antonio, and I’m on a scholarship there,” Garcia said.
Fernando said he wants to coach either at the university level or at the high school level, where he can make an impact on students’ lives.