The Ringling Rollers

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Pictured: Rollers in there new arena. Image courtesy of Fox 13 News.

“Everybody on each team has their main roles. At practice, we usually schedule a scrimmage against another college or cue up an online game if we haven’t found one for that evening,” says Nick DeAngelis. “From there we just work on whatever we have to work on, right now that means building better communication skills between our team members. A lot of the time, we’ll record that gameplay and then sit back and find the points where we could’ve improved upon. There’s a lot of strategy involved, which is something that can only really be understood upon rewatching the game that you just played.”

DeAngelis is the head coach of the Ringling Rollers, the Ringling College of Art and Design’s esports program. The program has come a long way since it was started in 2020 by Ringling College’s director of recreation and student wellness E Ramey. What began as an effort to organize a student body that showed a passion for video games has in three years culminated into an incredibly successful and rapidly growing program. In 2021, three club teams in Super Smash Brothers, Overwatch and Valorant were formed to determine which games a team could be most competitive in. DeAngelis was brought in to help steer the program in the right direction and that fall, competition against other schools began in earnest. Flash forward to fall 2022 and the Ringling Rollers were, well, on a roll–the Varsity Super Smash Brothers Ultimate team went 18-0 in the NACE Star League en route to being crowned the Varsity Plus Fall 2022 East Coast Divisional Champs. The JV Super Smash Brothers team followed up their success the next semester by winning the 2023 East 5 Conference.

As this fall’s season is set to go, the Rollers have leveled up once again. The program now has a permanent home in a brand-new 1,200 square foot arena dedicated solely to esports. The Rollers also sport a multitude of teams–they have Varsity and JV teams in Overwatch, Valorant and Super Smash Brothers–not to mention that Varsity members receive scholarships, branded gear and scheduled practices in the arena. “I think that the program has enhanced school pride,” says Ramey. “In the past, all we’ve had were club sports, which are great, but now we have a team that competes against other schools all over the southeast and the country that our student body can really get behind.”

Pictured: Rollers in there new arena. Image courtesy of Fox 13 News.

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