The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Diamonddogging the competition

Exploring the story behind Amanda Bailey ’24’s rise to playing esports for Boise State.

Next year, you will be able to find Amanda Bailey ’24 at Boise State University, playing for their esports team on scholarship. Her game of choice is Overwatch, a massively popular 5v5 first person shooter video game. It can’t be overstated just how impressive Bailey’s position is. Boise State boasts one of the best collegiate esports programs in the country, winning the NACE Star-league Fall Finals in Overwatch in 2022. To reach her point of mastery, she secured a spot in a program where a mind-bogglingly low percentage of applicants (just 56 out of over 10000) were accepted. This extraordinary success comes as a result of her life journey.

Bailey recounts that, “I started playing Overwatch when I was twelve and I always knew I wanted to do something with gaming since I was really young, but I didn’t really know the specifics of what to do.” However, she soon found her calling as she explains, “I [kind of] knew I wanted to be a professional player when the Overwatch League was announced.” By attending Philadelphia Fusion competitions (Philadelphia’s former Overwatch team), her interest in Overwatch exploded. Bailey recalls how the Fusion helped her get through difficult times, leading to her creating a bond with the game. The Fusion competitions were held by the Nerd Street Gamers program, which she decided to become involved in. Here, she learned what it took to reach the top. A teammate invited her to join the Esports Tower program, one that “helps students get scholarships and helps them get the word out about themselves” to college and professional teams. By learning from coaches, producers, and agents in the industry, Bailey’s under- standing of the field grew.

At first, Bailey says she “didn’t really have a preference for what college I wanted to go to.” This changed during her freshman year. In an Esports Tower college showcase, Chris “Doc” Haskell, the renowned director and coach of the Boise State esports program, reached out to her. Bailey explains that “from then, he’s kept a close eye on me.” Quickly making up her mind, Bailey explains that, “As soon as Boise State reached out to me and I learned more and more about Boise State, I knew [it was] where I wanted to go.” The ultimate breakthrough came when, in the summer of her junior year, she applied for the Esport Tower Summer Invitational at Boise State. The Invitational wasn’t just a national event, but attracted the best of the best from all across the globe. For example, one of Bailey’s teammates traveled all the way from Singapore for the competition. Still, Bailey felt comfortable as she “already knew [many of the players]” from playing at a high level. To convince her to attend Boise State, Haskell sent her a Boise State Varsity Jersey with her gamer tag, Diamonddog, on it. This summer, Bailey traveled to Boise State for a campus tour. It was here that Haskell officially informed her of the scholarship offer, which she found the specifics of later on even after already committing. Still, the scholarship didn’t come as a complete surprise, as “[Haskell] had basically said ‘I’m going to give you a scholarship offer’ back in freshman year.” She also felt at home when she recently attended an event with the Boise State team at Harrisburg University. Her love for Boise State goes beyond just esports as the university has an AZA-accredited zoo right across campus. Bailey has said that “I really love primates and I want to do stuff with environmental science when I’m older and I already work at the Philadelphia Zoo,” so Boise State’s zoo is a perfect match for her. Bailey is more than just an incredible player, but a driving force for more equitable esports future

It’s no secret that the esports industry is very male dominated. This skew has been a factor in her progression as a player. There’s a stereotype in esports where women often play the supporting, healer role, as opposed to a more combat-focused position. Significantly, Bailey remembers how “I actually used to play support, but I switched.” Mostly because of the pressure that I had to fit into that stereotype to be successful, but I had just so much fun playing tank.” Clearly, Bailey has faced the oppressive norms of the field head on, resulting in her finding success and happiness in Overwatch. In fact, gender equality is one of the reasons why she chose Boise State. Bailey acknowledges that Boise Sates “has a history of having women in their program” and that ““Doc” Haskell makes a point to really support women in esports.” Bailey believes that the trend is heading in the right direction, but knows “there still needs to be a lot of work done in the Overwatch community and overall for gaming in general. It starts with standing up and stopping this behavior at the roots.”

Bailey’s story has been one of perseverance. She has overcome harmful stereotypes to find success at the top of her field. At Boise State, she can explore not just her academic passions, but compete at the highest echelon of esports available in the world.

Photo courtesy of LMSD


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  • BA HughesJan 16, 2024 at 11:08 AM

    Wow : )


  • Grandpa BaileyDec 20, 2023 at 8:00 AM

    Always knew you were special Amanda

    • AnonymousDec 20, 2023 at 9:09 AM

      Love this

  • AndrewDec 20, 2023 at 7:23 AM

    Let’s go Diamonddog!!!

  • Andrew StearnDec 20, 2023 at 7:22 AM

    Awesome oost