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Paul Ampadu Learned To Compete In Amateur Wrestling. Then, His Esports Game Took Off

The H.S. Senior Sets The Tone For A Brighton Esports Team That Reached State Finals

Thom Fain
Oct 16, 2020

When cross-country athlete and amateur wrestler Paul Ampadu started seeking the same sort of adrenaline rush, grind and hype from varsity sports in the world of video games, he began playing Overwatch. But after mastering the game and watching his friends move on, he sought out something new that could satisfy his urges for greater competition.

That’s when he jumped into the world of League of Legends.

“I had friends who already played League [when I first started], but as more and more people graduate, it’s becoming more of a challenge to keep the team going,” he told PlayVS.

He was still a freshman when coaches were greenlit to form a disciplined esports team, which has since become an extracurricular destination for Brighton High students. Once they get in, they realize it’s no cakewalk and takes a ton of practice to meet the high expectations of the team. Reflecting on his very first match, Ampadu said he had to draw from the well of past experiences to get his gameface on.

“Usually I just take a deep breath and try to get my thoughts about the draft sorted out,” he told us. “League of Legends doesn't feel as stressful as wrestling during pre-match, since I have my team to rely on and talk to while we begin to play.”

As a young recruit, Ampadu learned how challenging the season-long LoL grind could really be. Now in his fourth year in organized esports, he’s the senior and club president teaching younger kids on the team how it’s done.

Reaching the state finals and taking the top spot in the Mountain Region allowed him and his teammates a sense of glory, but Ampadu was surprised to also develop friendships along with a positive mindset along the way. 

“Esports (and gaming in general) has gotten me a lot of friends and we’ve had some good times,” he said. “My personality and thought process have been shaped around the games I play, and I feel like it has had an overall positive impact on my life.”

And yet, it’s not lost on the young athlete that his ability to continue competing in college esports is 100% dependent upon how much he can sharpen his skills as the new leader of Brighton Esports.

“Going pro or starting a streaming career sounds extremely fun,” he admits, “In order to go pro you need at least to be high on the challenger ladder -- but seeing as how I’m sitting in diamond, I have a long way to go.”

Of course with esports scholarship opportunities multiplying throughout the country in 2020, Ampadu is gunning for a team to play for in college that would allow him to continue competing as an athlete as he embarks upon a collegiate career.