By David Harry – Vanguard Magazine
Editors note: The following feature ran in the October edition of Vanguard Magazine, profiling Columbia College Vice President and General Counsel Mark Falkowski
They came to play at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, in spring 2019, student athletes who could be all thumbs and proud of it.
With names like MistyStumpey or BugZach, the Columbia College Cougars took to the keyboards and controllers as the school’s esports pioneers, finding glory in virtual arenas instead of on the field or court. The Cougars were good enough to go to Los Angeles to compete for the collegiate national championship; at times thousands watched them.
“It’s weird to say this, but it actually compares to me in my tennis years … it’s the same adrenaline I feel in the League of Legends,” says Jonathan Song, a former member of the Columbia College esports team.
The team is a vibrant new way for students to excel, one embraced by school President Scott Dalrymple and Vice President and General Counsel Mark Falkowski. The team competes in what was the soccer team’s locker room, with the latest gaming technology, now making it the Game Hut.
Falkowski curbs his enthusiasm a touch, though.
“It’s created a new buzz on campus,” he says, “but it gives me a little heartburn because there are not as many concrete rules as a traditional program that has been there for decades.”