Who says gamers aren’t elite athletes, too? Judging by the performance of Stony Brook’s Smash team, no one. The team, which is made up of members of the Stony Brook Esports team, have been named the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) Starleague Spring 2023 Super Smash Bros Ultimate Champions. This is the first NACE championship for Stony Brook Esports, a milestone that the team has been waiting for.
“Esports is still growing, especially in the collegiate scene, so it was surreal being able to travel to another state to compete,” said Justin Lee, a member of the team who was able to claim the victory. “Playing as a team is an experience completely different from playing for yourself, so winning NACE as a team was an even greater feeling.”
According to Daniel Morel, another team member, while preparation wasn’t stressful, being able to play together as a team was key. In the days leading up to the event, the members talked about possible matchups to be prepared for different possibilities, and prior to the event, they practiced together to ensure they would be able to work efficiently as a team.
“Mentality is a very important and often forgotten part of performing on the big stage. The best way to prepare for these types of events isn’t through straight practicing, it’s also building confidence and trust in your whole team. It’s easy to get burned out playing so much; it’s more important to get quality practice and learn by watching others,” he explained.
After all of the strategizing and practicing, members of the Stony Brook Esports Smash team felt pretty confident they would outperform their peers, but like in all sporting events, anything can happen.
“We knew our opponents were very good and deserved respect,” said Lee, but added Morel, “We knew that we had a great team and great chance at winning.”
And win they did.
The team, which is mostly first- and second-year students, is hoping this first major victory is a sign of things to come as they continue playing together and mentoring new members of the Esports team. And for anyone thinking about joining the team here or at any institute of higher learning, Lee encourages students and those interested to jump in with both feet.
“My advice would be to just get out there and join your college Esports clubs or teams for the games that you play. Make friends and try to have a good time. If you enjoy yourself and make meaningful connections, the rest will follow,” he said.
— Emily Cappiello