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How Deerfield Got into The World of Online Gaming
Maddy Sofer '21 Digital Sports Editor
May 11, 2020
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In lieu of school being completely online this spring, the three current heads of Deerfield’s ”DSPN” got an idea to adapt to this new lifestyle. DSPN’s own Jack O’Neil ’20 said, “We figured that if we could do classes online, then why can we not do sports online as well?” 

The first idea was to set up a “virtual spring Choate Day” where current students of both schools would go head to head in boarding school’s favorite video games. Deerfield assembled an online DSPN “e-sports team” for Madden 20, NHL 20, FIFA 20, and most notably, a team of Deerfield’s six best Call of Duty players. After close communication with Choate’s student-run fan account “Boar Pen,” the event was scheduled for the following weekend, and the boys at DSPN never expected the success that the event would yield.

Many of the games acted as opening events before the Call of Duty match which was saved as the main event. The scoring system was dependent on the event, and whichever school won the event would be awarded one point towards the grand total. 

The event was streamed on the virtual platform “Twitch” which allows the viewers to see how many people tune in. By the end of the night, the “virtual Choate Day” hailed a total number of 1,200 people. The comment section was extremely active in playful banter between the schools and at the end of the day, the schools tied in total scores. The boys of DSPN and students of Boar Pen were not satisfied with this outcome, so they decided to rematch the following weekend, and Deerfield came out as the victor. The tradition has continued ever since.

Many players return weekend after weekend to participate in DSPN’s online gaming tournaments. “It’s been a great way to connect with friends and stay engaged with the community. Most of us don’t take it too seriously, but competing with other schools is awesome because we don’t have spring sports this year,” said Ari Kraan ’21, a loyal member of DSPN’s online gaming mass. “I hope we can continue to have fun and get more and more people involved.”

Fellow player of DSPN’s video game tournament Jack Shanahan ’21 enjoys how the tournaments keep him bridged to Deerfield. “It started off as something just fun to do. It was nice to feel like I was contributing to something with Deerfield especially not playing any varsity sports,” said Shanahan. “I’m not comparing the video game tournament to a varsity game by any means, but just that aspect of people watching you compete against a different school, even if it’s something as silly as a video game, was just a good feeling.”      

The three heads of DSPN, Jack O’Neil ’20, Nick Pecora ’20, and Aidan Philie ’20, plan on repeating this event with numerous other schools. They have already played a matchup against St. George’s and won. With communications transpiring between DSPN and future opponents, we can be sure that this event will happen soon. If you are looking for updates on the online gaming events, check out the DSPN Instagram: @_dspn, and be sure to tune into their next Twitch stream!