Why gaming is so important to this collegiate esports player

To Milon Dawson, an esports athlete on Iona University’s Overwatch team, gaming is a means of challenging himself and pushing his own limits, while also serving as a social outlet where he can build friendships with people who have similar interests and goals. As a freshman player on the Overwatch B-team, Dawson is hungry to rise in the ranks, while picking up as many skills and lasting relationships as possible along the way.  

“I used to play a lot of games with my older brother,” Dawson tells In The Know. “He always beat me at them, so I always wanted to get better than him. I never had the chance to until I really started to understand games better and really practice at them.” Dawson’s drive to improve is what led him to Iona University in the first place, as he was impressed with the school’s competitive esports program. 

Dawson’s current game of choice is Overwatch, a popular 5 v. 5 team-based shooting game. “I’ve been playing Overwatch for four to five years, but I never really had people to play with so I stopped playing,” says Dawson. But when he tried out for the team, his skills were still sharp enough for him to make the team as a freshman

Dawson’s most recent role on the team was that of a “healer,” who helps his teammates recover during battle. Dawson embraces his role on the team, explaining that his “[greatest] strength as an esports player is being able to be there for my teammates.” If things aren’t going well in the arena, Dawson prides himself on being there to calm down his team and provide assistance in any way he can. 

As a player on the B-team, Dawson has his sights set on improving and eventually moving on to the highest level of competition. “I do want to eventually join the A-team, but I know it’s going to be a lot of work,” says the esports athlete. “I’m gaming as much as I can—I try to practice on my own, and try my hardest to get better as a player.” 

As Dawson continues on the path to improvement, he’ll do so alongside a committed, like-minded group of friends and teammates that have helped shape Dawson’s positive esports experience. “I just enjoy having friends and people who understand the games that we play and just having a sense of family amongst each other,” he says. 

Dawson’s goals as an esports athlete go beyond just making the school’s A-team. Dawson wants to push himself to be the best Overwatch player he can be, and hopes that his drive and hard work allows him to pursue competitive esports even after college. “I think that I’ll probably forever be playing games,” he says. 

While Dawson’s goals as a gamer have surpassed simply beating his brother, his commitment to improving has helped him become a formidable esports athlete, and Iona might just have a future star on their hands. 

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