A Tale of Two Clubs: E-Sports and Athletic Training at CHS


As most people know and have experienced first-hand, entering one’s teenage years is often one of the most formidable times in one's life with trying to establish the person you want to become while simultaneously grappling with societal pressures around every corner. As we trek on in life and continue growing, we are in constant search of a connection in which one’s sense of identity and community can blossom. Luckily for students at Clifton High School, variety is nothing short of flourishing.

Nothing displays this diversity of interests and personalities quite like the seemingly endless amounts of clubs, societies, and organizations available to the student body at CHS. One example is the extremely popular, yet paradoxically overlooked by most of the student body, ESports club run by Mr. Marmostein and Mr. Gonzales. Here, students can participate in a wide selection of video games such as Valor, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros either recreationally or on a competitive level, with opportunities to win scholarship money depending on how far the team goes.

This program did not begin without its difficulties though. Begun only two and a half years ago by Mr. Marmostein, getting the club up on its feet, “took a lot of time, a lot of work, a lot of approval…we didn’t have computers until recently and I would have the kids meet me, however, they were able to, at an internet cafe in Fort Lee to play Leagues of Legend games,” Mr. Marmostein said. Now, through promotion on the CHS morning news, flyers in each wing of the school, fundraising, and budgeting from the Board of Education, they have a staggering 110 students enrolled in the Google Classroom with about thirty to forty regularly active players and six gaming PCs, four Nintendo switches, four PlayStation fours, and a “bunch of other stuff.”

Although one may not expect it, many aspects of the ESports club align quite closely with those of more traditional sports, such as the importance of creating a strong sense of sportsmanship, brother/sisterhoods, and teamwork. Considering many of the students active in the club have never played on a team like the one at CHS, it is paramount to Mr. Marmostein and Mr. Gonzales to establish a pattern of “continued engagement” even when students do not have immediate success or have difficulties adapting to the fundamental basics of being on a team. Working together this way, as Mr. Marmostein stated, is “often the most bonding aspect of the entire experience.” Justin Morales, a senior and an original member of the E-Sports club, said he joined after having heard that the club had “more people that share the same interests” as him. For Justin, the most rewarding aspects of the club have been the “connections and the opportunities…I used to be more closed off but through meeting new people throughout the years I’ve become more extroverted.” 

Summarizing the positive effects this club has and will continue to have on students, Mr. Marmostein said it best, “I just want the community to know that we exist and that our kids are thriving here. Our kids are here, they show up, they compete, they make the playoffs like every other team, and they are thriving in a community that didn’t praise them a little while ago.”

Entirely opposite of the virtual experience electronic sporting offers is the exceedingly physical experience provided by the Athletic Training Club, a selective program that utilizes hands-on experience with CHS athletes to train students on how to prevent and treat athletic injuries. The club’s advisor and the school's head athletic trainer is Nicole Buttel, whom you may have seen at various Clifton High sporting events, running out on the football field to inspect an ankle injury or stopping a bleeding nose at a hockey game, all while being shadowed by various club members. Their monthly meetings consist of learning new topics such as the anatomy of an ankle, the different bones in the foot, or how to tape up an injured wrist. By having the students observe during games in real-time and after school where many Clifton athletes receive rehabilitation treatment and care, Trainer Nicole, as she likes to be called, says they can better “understand our jobs and responsibilities.”

Many, in fact almost all, of the students in the program are athletes at Clifton High School. “I think the sports element is a doorway to athletic training because they see us around often, have access to what we do, and understand it,” says Trainer Nicole as multiple athletes occupy the athletic training room at any given time getting treated. Having been a member since freshman year and now in her junior year, Lillian Eewshah stated that not only was the club a stepping stone to her future career as a doctor but it also served as a “family within the school.” Trainer Nicole maintained that her goal was always, even with kids who aren’t in the club, to “make a positive impact on them…if I teach them one thing that they can carry with them, awesome.”

E-Sports and Athletic Training, despite seeming worlds apart in both members and activities, are truly just two sides of the same coin. Both clubs are centered around expanding their members’ horizons and maximizing the opportunities given to them, particularly within a sports-like and community-driven environment. The juxtaposition between the two clubs not only pays tribute to the diversity thriving in Clifton High School but highlights that regardless of how great the divide may feel between each other, we are all searching for the same sense of belonging and ultimately, finding it within one another.


If you are interested in learning more about these clubs you can email the advisors here:

E-Sports: rmarmorstein@cliftonschools.net and GGonzales@cliftonschools.net

Athletic Trainingnbuttel@cliftonschools.net

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