Mat Mikesell

Area teams using popular video game to bond in bad weather

From left, Kade Zanger (with controller), Alex Stratman, Logan Ross and Donovan Prost of the Quincy High School baseball team play Fortnite in the basement of teammate Jimmie Patterson's house on Friday. Much of the spring season has been postponed because of the weather, so teams are bonding off the field by playing the popular video game. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 9, 2018 7:25 am Updated: Apr. 9, 2018 9:52 am

QUINCY -- The same question has been asked lately after Quincy High School baseball practices.

"Are we playing Fortnite?"

The answer to that question is usually yes, and several of the Blue Devils usually convene to the basement at QHS senior Jimmie Patterson's house to play the popular video game Fortnite: Battle Royale.

The game was released last summer, and it has become a global sensation as players fight in a 100-player, last-man-standing style game. References to the game are littered all over social media, and Fortnite only continues to grow in popularity as new weapons and gimmicks are added to the game nearly every week.

With the weather failing cooperate in the early portion of the spring sports season, it has forced teams to find other ways to create bonds.

"Anytime after practice when it's raining, it's always asked if we're playing Fortnite," Patterson said. "We do go out to eat and things like that, but usually we come back and play Fortnite."

Patterson says nearly ever player on the baseball team plays Fortnite, and most join in on the party at his house. They bring extra Playstation consoles and have four televisions set up in the basement, which allows them to play in squads against other opponents. To win a squad game, the players must use strategy and chemistry -- just like in baseball.

Pizza, snacks and sports drinks are aplenty while they try to earn a victory. The Blue Devils admit they don't win much, but senior Matthew Schwiete is the best Fortnite player on the team.

The Blue Devils still enjoy playing because it helps create bonds. When one player survives and is one of the last 10 still battling, they focus their attention to that TV screen.

"It's popular," QHS senior Dax Flowerree said. "You can play with friends all at the same time."

When they do get that rare victory, the Blue Devils celebrate loudly.

The Blue Devils try to meet at least once or twice a week, and they have been for several months since the game's release. The goal is to play the night before a key game or a Western Big Six Conference doubleheader. Patterson said he hopes it becomes a tradition for the rest of the season.

"It's something I'd like to do at least every Friday," Patterson said.

The Blue Devils aren't the only local baseball team playing the popular game, either. Members of the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team meet at pitcher Tommy Ray's house to get in their Fortnite fix.

"It's a pretty popular game right now," Ray said. "Especially since the weather has been bad lately, I would say it is a way to pass time and bond with my teammates since we cannot be on the field together everyday."

The same is on the Central baseball team, where infielder Cruz Meier says about eight or nine Panthers gather at a house to play every weekend.

Illini West pitcher Jackson Porter said he and his teammates usually stay at their own homes and play in squads online. Porter said he and his teammates try to play every night depending on how much free time they get.

The bad weather has hurt their baseball season but allows them to get a few more rounds in.

"It gives us extra time to play," Porter said.