Allen County Board of DD visits ONU for E-Sports experience

ADA — The Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities FANS program visited Ohio Northern University’s E-Sports program for a fun day of meeting new friends and gaming Tuesday.

ONU E-Sports Director Troy Chief Ari and Board of DD Community Connections Specialist Tammy Delong said that the second edition of the event was even better than the first time in spring.

“It’s been good,” Chief Ari said. “I’m always nervous if I’m doing what I need to, to entertain everyone.”

Michael Williams, a Lima resident, was matched up with ONU E-Sports player Ryan Millar for the day and said that he was imagining playing basketball in a gym before he got to the event, but that he enjoyed the chance to visit a college and play new games.

“I’ve never really been to a college and been enabled to play games with people like this,” he said. “I think it’s a great experience.”

Delong said that the idea for the event came about from learning that the people the FANS program serves love gaming.

“That’s why I reached out to Troy,” she said. “And it’s just great that the students can just do things that they love together. I feel like the students are teaching the people we serve and I feel like they’re teaching the students a lot, as well.”

Millar said that he was at the first incarnation of the event and that he loves volunteering so when the chance to join in again for an event at the same place where he spends most of his time, he takes it.

“I’m here anyways and I just love gaming and being able to share that with these guys,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Delong and Chief Ari said that the event means a lot to members of the FANS program and the E-Sports program.

“I think it’s awesome for the students and members to get a different perspective, but to also find out that there are people different from you who still might have the same hobbies,” Chief Ari said. “There’s an understanding and you can bridge the gap of any misunderstandings.”

“Some people might have little verbal skills, but when you’re gaming, it doesn’t matter,” Delong said. “You’re playing together and you’re doing something fun.”

And Delong and Chief Ari said that anyone can share their talents and time with anyone in the FANS program no matter what it is.

“It’s pretty simple,” Chief Ari said. “Even though I’m talking about being worried about doing enough, just getting them together is enough. They’ll figure it out on their own.”

“All you’ve got to do is ask,” Delong said.

The success of the event has both prepared to keep it going once a semester.

And the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities is always looking for new events to attend.

To learn more about the board, visit its website.

To learn more about the ONU E-Sports program, visit its website.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.