CHARMCO, WV (WVNS) – It is the fastest growing sport in the world. But some detractors argue it isn’t a sport at all.

Seemingly every day, new eSports teams and clubs are popping up at more and more local schools.

One of those schools with a growing eSports presence is Greenbrier West, where Fox Cline is training with the goal of hopefully one day becoming a professional Overwatch player.

“A lot of eSports you can actually pursue as a career. You can make prize money off of winning games and tournaments. It’s very competitive. It’s very fun too to watch, it’s got a whole scene and everything,” said Cline.

Cline plays Overwatch every day. He follows the professional league. He plays in tournaments and attends eSports camps like the one at Concord where his Overwatch team won first place summer of 2022.

To Cline and the rest of the eSports club at Greenbrier West, competitive video games are really no different than football, basketball or any other sport their classmates put their time and effort into.

But to some folks, eSports are still seen as a distraction, a waste of time, or worse.

Greenbrier West eSports Coordinator Josh Hardiman told 59News he has heard these detractors his whole life.

“It’s really just like ‘don’t waste your time with video games,’ but you could say that about anything. Every sport on this Earth has its haters, has people that don’t like it. It just comes with the territory of it so you’ve just got to expect it,” Hardiman said.

But as the popularity of eSports continues to grow, so do the potential paths it can take gamers down.

Not only could Cline become a professional Overwatch player, he could also win one of the thousands of eSports scholarships to major universities.

WVU, Concord, WVU Tech and thousands more schools across the country have launched eSports programs in the past five years.

Even the U.S. Military has begun targeting eSports competitors as potential technicians, drone pilots and more to operate some of the most advanced technology in the world.

“A lot of it is with your hands. A lot of it is hand-eye coordination. A lot of it is a big amount of focus and working together as a team to complete an objective. So I could see it,” said Cline. “I could see the connection between them.”

Cline and Hardiman said they hope the club continues to grow to the point where they can field a team to compete against other schools.