Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Good-bye, Germany

Weybrets’ last days in Germany offer history, culture, biergartens

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Marty Weybret

Posted: Saturday, August 7, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 2:30 pm, Mon Nov 15, 2010.

July 13, 2010, Kings Center Hotel, Munich — From Rothenburg, we changed trains three times. Our last one was the ICE from Nurnburg to Munich (München). It doesn’t feel fast. It’s smooth and quiet, but I have to revise my thought that the ICE is no faster than our Amtrack. I asked a steward how fast we were going.

“Two hundred fifty kilometers per hour,” he replied in English. I did the math — 156 miles per hour! Was there a problem with translation?

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login now

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 20 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 20 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription at this time and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information. If you need help, please contact our office at 209-369-2761. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login now

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Readers Choice Awards 2014

Video

Popular Stories

Send Us Your Snapshots!

CHICAGO — It was a shoulder injury during his junior year of high school that ended Derek Micheau’s dreams of being a pitcher. Later that season, a knee injury ended his hopes of playing catcher.

Turns out he didn’t need healthy shoulders or knees for a college athletic scholarship.

Mr. Micheau earned a scholarship to play video games at Robert Morris University Illinois. The small school in Chicago became the first U.S. university to offer scholarships for video gaming when it launched its eSports program this fall. The school gave out 35 scholarships to gamers from around the country.

“My mom thought it was a scam,” said Michaeu, a 20-year-old freshman from Olympia, Wash.

Turns out, some parents might want to think twice before telling their kids to turn off the computer. Micheau’s scholarship pays for half of his tuition, room and board, which at full price runs more than $30,000.

The teams are a part of the athletics department at Robert Morris, which has about 2,500 students at its Chicago campus and about 6,000 across several campuses in Illinois. The school spent $100,000 turning a computer lab into an eSports Arena with fast-processing computers, large monitors, high-end ergonomic gaming chairs and a strict no-food-or-drink policy.

The gamers play “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, that groups players into teams in head-to-head battles. The game requires each player to take on certain roles with certain skills. The goal is to knock down an opponent’s tower before the opponent knocks down theirs.

The two teams on Robert Morris’ varsity squad are undefeated this year, playing against college club teams in leagues.

The eSport athletes, as the school calls them, took part in the university’s homecoming rally. They are outfitted with team-branded hoodies and jackets, like most other scholarship athletes. The co-ed team has five coaches — one head coach and four assistants.

“We’re definitely taking it seriously. We want them to do well,” said Kurt Melcher, associate athletic director and program coordinator.

It was his idea to launch the program to attract a diverse assortment of students to the school. The national attention — the program has been featured by ESPN, NPR, HBO’s “Real Sports” and a variety of other outlets — has been a “nice byproduct,” Melcher said.

(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)

Another byproduct has been some confusion, which has always been an issue for Robert Morris University Illinois and Robert Morris University in Moon, Pa. The school in Moon owns the trademark for the Robert Morris University name, and it fielded a lot of calls from interested gamers when the program was announced last spring.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” said Jim Duzyk, sports information director at the Moon college.. Still “this has been without question the most visible that it has gotten.”

Duzyk has a stock email he sends to students interested in video game scholarships who confuse the two schools, named after one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. But there were so many calls that the school in Moon posted a letter on its athletics website.

“Sorry, gamers,” the letter read. “If you are looking for a scholarship to play ‘League of Legends,’ you’ve come to the wrong Robert Morris University.”

The tongue-in-cheek letter hopes some of those gamers will consider its school anyway.

“While we can’t give you a scholarship for playing video games, as one of the nation’s most wired campuses, we do offer plenty of bandwidth for you to do so, anytime you like — after you’ve finished studying, of course.”

(END OPTIONAL TRIM)

The team is not a revenue generator for Robert Morris University Illinois, but most college sports teams aren’t, except for high-profile football and men’s basketball teams. The school has partnered with a few companies who sponsor the team.

“I wanted to make sure we jumped on it as fast as possible because I knew this would be a big deal. There was no way it couldn’t be,” said John Spiher, marketing director at DXRacer USA, which sells gaming chairs and sponsors the team. The company outfitted Robert Morris’ eSports arena with one of its chair models, which retails for $349.

The scholarship program is just the next step in a burgeoning industry. The best professional gamers earn six figures through sponsorship deals and competition winnings. There was more than $25 million available in prize money in 2013, a 350 percent increase since the start of the decade, according to Jim Yang, global chief strategy officer at Nurun, a global design and technology consultancy headquartered in Montreal.

The gaming industry as a whole generates $25 billion in annual revenue, according to the Entertainment Software Association, a Washington-based trade group.

The “League of Legends” finals in 2013 sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 2014 finals, held last month, drew more than 40,000 fans to a former World Cup soccer stadium in Seoul. Millions more watched online.

Because of the popularity, it might not be long before other schools try to join Robert Morris.

Spiher, who also is a student at Eastern Michigan University and president of LOL(at)EMU, the school’s “League of Legends” club, said gamers are the kind of students that are attractive to a university.

“They’re problem solvers,” Spiher said. “That’s what a game is. You have a certain goal, and you come across a lot of problems in the way of that goal. It’s the same way in college.”

Whether it’s a sport remains up for debate.

ESPN President John Skipper said during a conference earlier this year that his network is mostly interested in “real sports” and that he didn’t believe video games fell into that category.

“It’s not a sport,” he said. “It’s a competition, right? I mean, chess is a competition, and checkers is a competition.”

The network does, however, televise poker tournaments, noted Nancy Donohoe, director of public relations at Robert Morris.

“It’s kind of cool to see kids who might’ve been in the shadows say ‘I got an athletic scholarship, too,’” she said.

(EDITORS: STORY CAN END HERE)

Kevin Kuan, president of Club eSports at Carnegie Mellon University, said the recent gains have helped erase some of the stigma associated with gaming.

“I think it’s pretty cool people are starting to be more open minded, not seeing video games as nerds in a basement,” he said.

The Carnegie Mellon teams are among the best on the East Coast, he said, though they are run a little differently than the scholarship team in Chicago. While Robert Morris practices every day and has classes scheduled around practice times, the Carnegie Mellon team is lucky if it can practice once a week.

“They have all the resources that any normal sports team would play with,” Mr. Kuan said.

Still, if the two schools ever went head-to-head, Mr. Kuan would give his team a 50-50 shot to win.

“I still think we could put up a pretty good match against them.”

———

©2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

—————

PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194):CMP-VIDEO-GAMES-SCHOLARSHIPS

_____

Topics: t000037502,t000002879,t000002776,t000049144,t000162433,t000002786,g000065560,g000362661,g000066164,g000065627,g000218779,g000216305

Poll

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Featured Events

CREATE AN EVENT

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists