Alabama high schools roll out their newest varsity sport – video games

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Alabama ( -- The glow of Friday night lights outside of high schools in Alabama have dimmed for another year after this weekend’s state championships.

But in 30 high schools around Alabama, students will soon bask in a new glow.

Computer screens and TV monitors inside labs and tech rooms from Chickasaw to Piedmont will light up a new competitive stage as the state rolls out its latest state-sanctioned, inter-school “sport” – video gaming.

Participating schools are in place to begin the competitions – called “esports” – starting in February, with a culminating event, akin to a state championship, occurring in May.

“It’s growing at a rapid pace, the schools have embraced it and we hope to reach a set of athletes who don’t participate in other sports,” said Marvin Chou, assistant director with the Montgomery-based Alabama High School Athletic Association.

Alabama is one of only a handful states rolling out esports competitions during the inaugural season for competitive events.

Esports were first sanctioned approximately 18 months ago by the Indianapolis-based National Federal of State High Schools, which is the country’s primary leader for high school sports like football.

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