Chevell Gilliland Photo by Christian Toews

Chevell Gilliland concentrates on the game.

Choctaw Nation hosts esports invitational

By Christian Toews
May 1, 2022

The Choctaw Nation hosted the second annual esports invitational on April 1 and 2, 2022. This esports tournament has helped facilitate the growth of this emerging sporting event.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to get a better idea or understanding of what esports could look like here in Oklahoma as we move forward,” said William Bray, esports director and IT director for Atoka Public Schools. 16 schools across Oklahoma, including Durant, Tushka and Atoka, brought teams to participate in a competition playing Overwatch and Super Smash Bros.

Photos by Christian Toews

The collegiate teams from Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma University joined the tournament on April 2. “There’s obviously a large group of kids that look to gaming as their outlet, their source, it’s their connection to other people,” said Bray.

Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation said he was excited about the event and its potential opportunities.

“We love to be able to bring these kids here and not only are they able to play wonderful games but we have 16 different institutions here that can potentially offer them scholarships so they can go to college and that’s awesome. He also commented on the potential for these athletes to end up in the IT field. “We would love to see them come back and work for us once they graduate from college or go to a VoTech and receive a certification,” he said.

Photo by Christian Toews

Joel Lewis plays Overwatch 2 during the tournament.