By: Ramona Villegas
Student athlete Sarah Monk is a third-year Cameron esports team member who ranks 105 in the United States for first-person hero schooter Overwatch.
Monk found out about the esports team from the initial tour she took before becoming a student. Even before stepping into the room, she knew esports was where she belonged.
While Monk is continuously extending her hand to anyone interested in joining the team, there is still hesitation from people.
Monk said she would also love to have more women on the team since it can feel isolating being only one of two on the team.
“Some people might be afraid of signing up,” Monk said. “I always tell people to not be afraid, it’s really nice, everyone in here is really nice. The teams are all really nice. I’ve never had any issues with anyone being mean.”
Teammate Jadyn Taylor and team coach John Cunningham have made the biggest impact on Monk’s experience so far on the team.
From Taylor playing consistently over the summer with Monk to Cunningham reassuring Monk she is doing a good job and acting level-headed.
Cunningham has become a father figure for Monk while she has been in college.
Cunningham has been there to support her every step of the way while being the first one Monk spoke to about the esports team.
Monk’s game of choice is Overwatch which she has been playing for seven years.
During Overwatch practice, Monk tends to take the role of coach, especially for the less-experienced players.
Monk’s first love when it comes to video games was World Of Warcraft, which kickstarted her love for Overwatch.
Monk’s favorite character to play on Overwatch is Mercy, mainly because she also speaks German and Mercy is blonde like Monk’s natural hair color.
“I’ve never found anything similar to Overwatch, and I don’t think I ever will,” Monk said. “There is something about it that I just can’t stop playing. I’ve probably clocked in an easy 7,000-8,000 hours since I started playing.”
Although there are not enough members for the Rocket League team to be active, there are three other teams: Overwatch, Valorant, and Smash Bros.
The building and the esports room are fairly new, but there are things in there that have needed to be replaced because computers end up deteriorating quickly with extended use. They have already had to replace parts of different hardware/equipment in the room. The computers in the room are top of the line, yet unfortunately, specific parts will go faulty over time.
More funding would get the team newer hardware/equipment, and more scholarships would give the team the opportunity to recruit students out of high school as most universities pay their players to play for them.
“Another big issue is we are not allowed to make any money when it comes to our social media or like Twitch or anything,” Monk said. “Some issue with the state or because we are a government-funded college we aren’t allowed to make any money and that goes around along with funding as well.”
In addition to juggling her responsibilities as an esports team member, Monk is also majoring in Journalism and Media Production (JRMP) with a minor in English.
Monk enjoys being a JRMP major since she feels as though most people in the department are approachable, sociable, and kind.
“I feel like a lot of people in this major (JRMP) are like really open, outgoing people, who love to make friends and that’s really nice,” Monk said.
Monk’s future plans consist of moving to Austria where most of her extended family lives.
Her English minor might come in handy in case she ever wants to teach English in Austria and generally, to keep her options open. While she could have minored in German, she felt as though she did not need it on paper, since she is already fluent in German.
“I used to visit Austria every summer, for most of my life,” Monk said, “Up till COVID then that whole thing has been making it really hard practically.”
She grew up in a military household and values the concept of living closer to not only her immediate family, but extended family as well. Monk has been in Oklahoma and Texas most of her life.
While she doesn’t mind living in Oklahoma, there is a part of her wishing that she could have stayed in Austria.
A few things she enjoys about Austria is it has a nice community and things are closer to each other. While being an only child the only family that Monk has in the States are her mother and father. In Austria, not only are the buildings closer together, but so are the people.
“I think it is more of the commuting culture, the fact that we have to drive everywhere and everything is really far. In Austria, everything is really tight-knit, like very very close,” Monk said. “I’m walking out my front door and got like a two-minute walk out to the main city square, where everyone is, and I’m like there’s fresh bread, I can get all my groceries; like it’s just super close, you’re not doing much driving at all.”
Monk feels she is misunderstood by people since, in person, she feels she does not come off as though she has many hobbies, while in fact, she does.
One of those many hobbies is that she likes dressing up a lot, in Lolita style specifically.
Lolita culture is an alternative fashion style that is dressing in historical rococo fashion, which consists of big dresses and expensive pieces of clothing.
Looking back, what got Monk interested in Lolita and Japanese fashion was Tumblr, YouTube and the old Japanese indie movie, “Kamikaze Girls.”
Monk says her favorite quote from “Kamikaze Girls” is ‘When I die, I want to be buried in my angelic pretty dress.’
Monk thinks that is a big part of who she is outside of school when it comes to her style and looking different.
“I feel like if people just saw me outwardly, they wouldn’t see like half of the things I like,” Monk said. “You’d have to meet me outside of class.”
Monk also enjoys painting, filming and drawing. Some more of her interests include Japanese fashion and music.
She is currently starting to work on a film for the next student film night, hoping to incorporate her hobbies into the film.
If you would like to see Monk in action, follow her Twitch at Twitch.tv/jjleis. For more information regarding the esports team follow their Facebook: Cameron Esports, Instagram: thepickaxes, and the team’s Twitch: EsportsCU.