He met her while playing a show in a converted garage. Marquer was a junior at the University of Wyoming when he became a fixture in the college town punk scene. A blur of flailing limbs and sweaty, close-cropped hair as he tore through songs about SpongeBob SquarePants earned him a reputation as a magnetic performer.

A young woman in the crowd was wearing cat-eye glasses. They talked about music after the set. She was earning her living as a house cleaner. None of the punk acts in Denver would give her a chance because she didn't look right. He hated that no one would give her a chance because he thought she was cute.

The two were living in the same place. Landvogt was a ferocious and fluent guitarist. Medicine Bow became a power duo with Landvogt on a Telecaster and Marquer on drums.

When they weren't making music, they were often side by side in front of their PC, clobbering dragons and druids and collecting gold in a video game. He was one of the top 7 percent of players in the world, and he loved the game so much that he wanted it to be theirs. They lost themselves for hours on end, as empty liquor bottles accumulated on the floor and kitchen counter around them.

Medicine Bow recorded a cassette as Marquer was finishing his final semester at the university. One of the songs ended with a sad expression. The future is more than we think.

Landvogt and Marquer were married in a small chapel near the mountain. After getting married, the newlyweds packed up their car and embarked on a concert tour. They played a show at a church in Oklahoma and crashed on fans' sofas. The excess and hardship of the road made them happy and they would tell their children funny stories about it.

After they got back to Wyoming, the giddiness faded. He couldn't find a teaching job in the local district. He took a job sorting mail at the post office to make ends meet. She wanted to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, but couldn't. She went to the liquor store at 1:45 am because she didn't want to run out of booze after the store closed at 2. Her addiction stripped her of her creativity and made her incapable of handling mundane tasks. When things got bad, he would take her to the hospital. He wondered how and when each of the spells of sobriety would end.

The couple's main source of happiness was the game. The game has a large map with dark forests and medieval forts. As they played, Marquer started to think about what he would do if he got a job in the industry that had arisen from the success of the game. He might be able to find a job with one of the companies that stage the game. The International, in Seattle, offered almost $25 million in prize money, making it the largest event of its kind in the world. Maybe Landvogt could be involved, too, and that would give her the structure to make a long-term recovery.

Marquer decided to go for a highly specific advanced degree. He returned to the University of Wyoming to study for a master's degree in geography with an emphasis on understanding how gaming relates to virtual maps. He was inspired by Landvogt's experience of harassment when he studied how male gaming players lose their inhibitions when exploring the maps.

The plan seemed to work for a while. He received a research grant in the spring of 2019. Marquer left Landvogt alone for a week because she was mostly sober. Landvogt went to a liquor store immediately after Marquer left for the airport.

The apartment was not clean when Marquer returned. Cats were on the verge of starving because of mold in the coffee pot. Landvogt yelled out for Marquer to give her a hug, but he found her too weak to move. Marquer called an ambulance before. As he sat by her bedside at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, he realized he had lost his will to serve. He says he divorced her that summer. It was impossible for me to do it. Landvogt met the man she was living with while playing a game. The degree that Marquer was going to complete had lost a lot of its purpose.

Marquer got a call from the police in Haltom City, Texas, saying that Landvogt had been found dead in her boyfriend's trailer. Acute and chronic alcoholism were listed as the causes of death as her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for driving. She was older than 25.

He spent the next two months at his parents house in mourning. He got his degree but his thesis felt hollow. With in-person tournaments suspended due to Covid, hiring was at a standstill, even though he was looking for a job in the game. He used temp jobs to pay his bills, stripped insulation from abandoned buildings and helped people navigate the health care law. A cloud of depression kept him from moving forward.

About a year after Landvogt's death, a friend of Marquer's called to tell him about an article. The only college in the state of Wyoming was starting a team. The school was looking to hire a coach to lead the program and they paid $15,000.

It wasn't the entree to the gaming industry that Marquer had thought of when he set out to save his wife. He saw the community college job as a chance to perform a similar act of devotion, helping young Wyomingites who might never consider college if not for the lure of gaming. He could finally shake free of the spectre of all he had lost by taking that challenge.

Shawn Bush is pictured.

Shawn Bush is pictured.

If you want a quaint and dusty charm, save for the one week each summer when it's mobbed with tourists for the rodeo. There is never a shortage of free parking in front of its cowboy-boot emporiums and cocktail bars in the heart of its downtown. An Air Force base that houses nuclear missile silos is just one of the things that can be found beyond the central district.

The "L-Triple-C" campus is located on the city's southern edge, across from the desolate grassland that spans the Colorado border. The majority of the school's full-time students are from the isolated hamlets that are dependent on gas drilling or coal mining. AnLCCC degree can be an affordable ticket to a less secluded future for rural kids.

Richard Walsh jokes with his students that he wants them to get a nice office job with air-conditioning or sit in front of a computer for seven hours a day and then go home to a nice house. Getting a good education is the first step in that direction.

Video games were an outsize part of the social life of theLCCC. The kids in Wyoming spent a lot of time indoors because there wasn't much to do. He noticed that once students arrived at LCCC, they would often stay in their dorm rooms and play online with friends from home, even though they felt like outsiders in the city.

Walsh helped the soccer coach with a computer glitch. Walsh mentioned that a friend of his worked at a Midwestern college that was about to launch a team. He made it clear that he was interested in the game. He was asked to chair a committee to look into starting a similar program at the school.

At that time, four-year institutions were starting to see the benefits of esports. The practice of giving athletic scholarships to video game players was pioneered by Robert Morris University, and by the end of the year, nearly 200 colleges and universities were giving scholarships to video game players. Big institutions such as UC Irvine and the University of Utah were quick to establish elite programs. Missouri's Maryville University, for example, has become famous for winning three national League of Legend Championships and producing many pros.

Junior colleges have tight budgets, which makes them slow to take root in e-sports. The entire $84 million annual budget ofLCCC is about what Kansas State University spends. There were 12 two-year schools involved in the inaugural season of the NJCAAE. The entry fee and contact information for the adult who was responsible for the team were all that was needed for the league to start. Schools didn't have to buy new equipment aside from the games themselves because athletes were allowed to play from any computer. By the start of the second season, the membership of the NJCAAE had more than tripled.

Walsh was gathering information for a presentation to the board of trustees when he paid attention to the league's launch. The Pandemic had led to a decline inEnrollment and cuts in state support The president ofLCCC has described the college's future as a bit bleak.

He paid his bills with temp jobs and stripped insulation from old buildings.

Walsh had gathered enough evidence to show that esports could bring in as many as 20 student-athletes per year and boost the college's brand among potential applicants who'd been weaned on NBA 2K Some of the school's administrators were against the idea that members of the rodeo team would be treated the same. An administrator said that they are not athletes because an athlete manipulates their body and muscles in a way to interact with something. I told him that he just described the game. They are not moving. They are moving their hands with dexterity. They are using their brains in a fast and decisive way. That isn't a sport.

The administration approved Walsh's proposal in March of that year, despite the fact that he had failed to convince them that Call of Duty is as demanding as bull riding. The team received $20,000 in scholarships and $2,100 in expenses. The athletic department needed to find a coach to build the program from the ground up.

Someone with a bachelor's degree, a driver's license, and at least one year of competitive gaming experience is what the college is looking for. The majority of the respondents thought the job was a chance to hang out and play games. The video-game geography student stood out.

Since there couldn't be many other grown ups with master's degrees willing to accept $15,000 a year, Marquer thought his odds were good. He wore the coat and tie that had been moldering in his closet because his father told him to. In front of the search committee, he spoke about how he had been shaped by gaming and how he had stayed up late eating and playing with his mom. He made the case that by giving aimless players the discipline, camaraderie, and sense of purpose they need to claw their way to richer lives, Wyoming could be transformed. He answered all the follow-up questions with no hint of the sadness that had been in his life for more than a year.

The search committee was aware that their salary offer was a piddling sum and that they would consider him for a full-time job if he did well for a year. He was so committed to the program that he was going to move back in with his parents to save money.

The start date was June 1. Most recent high school graduates already had plans for the fall, so assembling a team took less than a year. He printed up a bunch of posters with the slogan "Get in the game" and put them up at local businesses. Word of the team's formation had been circulating around the area for a while.

Madison has a tattoo on his shin that says Wyoming's state flower.

Photograph: Shawn Bush

He didn't think of himself as a college student. He stopped showing up for school midway through the 10th grade because he realized he couldn't pretend to care about books or wars. His worried parents switched him to an online academy because they wanted him to learn at his own pace. By the end of his junior year, Jones had left virtual school as well. The gentle-natured teen then began cycling through a series of dreary, low- wage jobs in Wyoming, unloading freight at Dillard's, sorting goods at Walmart, and delivering pizzas for Domino's. He spent a lot of his meager earnings on his two favorite pastimes: playing Call of Duty at a downtown gaming café called the Annex and assembling his own home computers.

The Annex is located between a computer repair shop and a beauty academy. The café is open until 1 am on the weekends to cater to young locals who like to party and play games. After the Annex opened in the spring of 2021, Jones began to hang out there. Austin Vina­tieri was a teammate of his on a Call of Duty squad funded by a local hip hop producer.

Vinatieri was a guy who had organized his late teens and early twenties around mastering Call of Duty, working odd hours at Pizza Hut and the Frontier Mall to fit his gaming schedule. "Esports is something that you have to chase; you can't chase it half-heartedly." It really requires that level of effort and you have to put your all into it. He was trying to impress pro scouts from the Call of Duty League at GameBattles.

Vinatieri didn't earn more than $500 a week from gaming. Vinatieri had finally begun to think about the steps he needed to take to become a responsible adult. He decided to take one last shot at his dream after reading a post about the new team on Facebook. He thought that if he could captain a squad that would dominate on the junior college circuit, he would get noticed by a major four-year program. Vinatieri thought he would be ready to make the leap to a Call of Duty League team like the Los Angeles Guerrillas or Florida Mutineers, which draw hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers as they compete for $5 million in prize money annually. The Los Angeles Rams are one of the owners of the Guerrillas.

Vina­tieri was a student at the school during the summer. Vinatieri sent an email to the new coach explaining his plan to get players to join him. The Human Turret was at the top of Vinatieri's list.

The aggressor has less than two-tenths of a second to fire their weapon.

Jones was a week into a new, entry-level warehouse job when Vinatieri told him about the competitive video games. Jones thinks he was messing with him. I got a scholarship to play a video game. Jones had doubts about taking the leap to college. He was desperate for a new direction because he could see himself in 10 years, stuck on a loading dock with other dropouts. He agreed to go with Vinatieri to compete for a chance to win a prize.

The tryout was held in a dimly lit computer lab with images of the school's mascot and athletic namesake, the Golden Eagle. He had high hopes for the duo from the Annex because he had yet to find much talent. The two aspiring student-athletes wore their headphones and played a game set in the waning days of the Soviet Union.

Success in Cold War is dependent on a player's ability to predict their opponent's behavior. The action unfolds in digital facsimiles of places like Moscow and the Nicaraguan jungle, all filled with labyrinthine buildings and narrow corridors. The element of surprise is what allows players to dash to places they think they can achieve. If they fail to score the kill and can't immediately readjust, they're liable to become prey themselves.

He realized he had two potential stars after watching Jones and Vinatieri. The Human Turret had a gift for detecting opponents who tried to assault his position from stealth angles, which was revealed by the diminutive Jones. Marquer had spent a lot of time studying and playing video games, but he had never seen a player like that.

Both men were offered scholarships by Marquer after the tryout. Jones wasn't told he was ineligible to attend the college. He decided to take online classes to get his high school degree, no matter how late he had to work.

Marquer was introduced to another young man from the Annex. Tail felt he had been born to solve the intellectual challenges of first-person shooter. He says that even if it was a game of tag, he would have a plan if he was at the playground. I think I was more organized in video games. College hadn't been part of Tail's plan. After graduating, he thought about joining the Marines, but decided against it. He thought that the shy and sensitive Tail might be a lost soul in need of guidance. He gave the teen the sweetest scholarship deal he could think of.

Jordan Vestal, a Call of Duty ace, was Vinatieri's last recruit. He didn't want the team to feel like a collection of mercenaries and the ultracompetitive Vestal didn't want to move to Wyoming. He was aware that he would be judged by his wins and losses. He became a member of the team for Vestal, an avid streamer on the platform.

The news of the team began to spread. Andy Santhuff, from the town of Green River in the southwestern corner of the state, had been a soccer star in high school and was expected to play at the next level. He had a shoulder injury that ended his career. He was resigned to being stuck in Green River until his girlfriend told him about the team. Santhuff called Marquer to arrange an in-person tryout, which would have taken him over 300 miles to attend. Santhuff was offered scholarship funding on the spot after he demonstrated his mastery of Rocket League.

The team grew to 17 athletes as the first day of classes approached in late August. Their ranks now included a player from the heart of Wyoming, a runner with flowing blond hair, and a former Christian missionary who drove a Walmart forklift. Marquer worked up to 50 hours a week to help students fill out financial aid forms and figure out how to livestream matches from the lab.

Less than a week before the end of the registration period, the last of his high school exams was completed and he received his diplomas. He was going to major in information technology and play Call of Duty for the next two years.

The horses at the college are used for the rodeo team.

Photograph: Shawn Bush

The coach is right with the group of players.

Photograph: Shawn Bush

Marquer tried to instill rigor in his athletes from the beginning. He divided the team into seven groups, each with a specific game in mind. The squad captains had to make sure their members practiced at least 10 hours a week. Video analysis, strategy discussions, or weapons training are some of the things that might be included in a practice. There was an obligation to lend a hand at otherLCCC sporting events, as well as a mandatory team meeting on Mondays. One of the gaming group was assigned to retrieve balls for the soccer team, and one of them had never touched a soccer ball before.

Marquer hoped that keeping his athletes focused on their studies would keep them focused on their studies. It caused a lot of problems before the season started.

Marquer lost 25% of his team on the eve of the Golden Eagles debut match. Vinatieri had flunked a class during the summer and hadn't been able to dig himself out. His wife was pregnant with their second child and he had a good excuse. Vinatieri was angry with himself for botching his attempt to become a Call of Duty pro. He promised Jones, Tail, and Vestal that he would help in any way he could.

The team didn't blow up. The Cold War unit didn't miss a beat when an emergency sub slid into Vinatieri. They defeated Hutchinson Community College in the first semester. Santhuff and the team won their first two matches. A Super Smash Bros. victory against an Alabama college was one of the highlights of the season for the team.

Where would he have to concentrate his efforts? When they were in front of their PCs, many of them couldn't handle the basic responsibilities of life outside the lab. Santhuff was frustrated that some kids didn't understand that he had to do stuff in college. He was angry at teammates who either cut classes or neglected their homework, two decisions that could have jeopardized their athletic eligibility. The flailing students were told to use the athletic department's tutor and to participate in mandatory study tables.

The player would be told to take baby steps. Get off your game and do an hour of work. The advice wouldn't stick if the athletes were receptive to it. He said it made them feel good. It wouldn't be enough to get them to continue. He started to feel like Sisyphus as he was ignored by some game players.

Some of his athletes had trouble controlling their emotions. These athletes hadn't developed the skills that their peers in other sports learned in Little League or CYO basketball, like how to forgive themselves for errors, how to respect their opponents, and how to lose with grace. Marquer was horrified when one of his players walked out of the lab in anger. He insisted that he was a born winner when confronted about his behavior. The player was cut for violating the rules multiple times.

Marquer was so sad that he couldn't stop his most troubled players from wasting an opportunity. He was hopeful that his efforts weren't in vain. He was reminded that he would miss out on matches if he didn't improve. Jones said that he got down and got his grade up. I can't play that game if I have a failing grade. That is a big thing for me.

The computer lab is inside theLCCC.

Photograph: Shawn Bush

The Golden Eagles finished their first semester with 46 wins and 16 losses. The Cold War squad was the one to beat. All of its victories were easy. Austin Vinatieri continued to advise the team even though he was taking a new job in the IT department. He downloaded bird's-eye views of all the Cold War maps and annotated them with a screen marker to find routes the squad could use. He designed a play in which the team split into three units and went through a section of the landscape where they were not seen by the public. He says that after they went into the map, they executed it perfectly. It was one of the proudest things I have ever witnessed.

The Cold War squad will play in the national playoffs on December 3. They demolished Hutchinson Community College once again. Two matches were needed to win the title. The team fell apart at the worst possible time.

The national semifinal was to take place on December 9. On December 8th, Andy Santhuff, whose Rocket League squad had recently flamed out in part due to his teammates' academic issues, volunteered to step into the team's shoes. The cold war player in Chicago sent a disturbing message to Marquer with just an hour to go before the game. He was admitted to the hospital, according to Vestal. He wanted the match to be rearranged. Schools have to give at least 24 hours' notice. The semifinals would continue.

Marquer was able to get a last-minute sub from another squad, but that player had a cast on his arm. The Cold War team had half its starting lineup out of commission. Vestal apologized to the Cold War squad on the next day. Marquer tried to contact him a number of times, but he didn't reply. The Chicagoan didn't say goodbye to anyone when he dropped out of theLCCC.

After the first semester, Marquer decided who would be allowed to compete in the spring. Four of his athletes blew off their finals and their grade point averages were all below 1.0. Tail felt lost in the information technology program from the beginning. He was encouraged byquer to look at other majors. With no chance of being able to compete for the rest of the year, Tail gave up his scholarship and turned his attention to a pro career.

Every shutter had to be ingrained in the players mind.

The winter break was used to recuperate from exhaustion. He had been substitute-teaching at several schools in order to make more money. He still believed that the college's program could help Wyoming kids achieve more for themselves than they thought possible. I noticed that his disposition was not as bright as usual when I talked to him before Christmas.

He told me that he wasn't too upset about this year because he knew what he was getting into. He said he was tired of being broke. He felt neglected by the new program of LCCC. Several of his team wanted to practice early in the morning before the computer lab was unlocked. Marquer tried many times to get a key from the administration.

It was difficult to keep a sense of defeat at bay. He had married a woman he loved so much that he hatched a plan to save her. The love that had been there had been replaced by a loud grief that sometimes became too much for him. It was difficult to make a relationship work as a young man who was stuck in his bedroom. He couldn't protect his athletes from their worst impulses. Marquer felt like he was lost without a map.

The stables are at the college.

Photograph: Shawn Bush

Isiaha's family has a close relationship with basketball. When he gave up the sport as a high school junior to focus on Call of Duty, his relatives were not happy. They thought it was a bad idea. Just trust me, that's what I said. I need you guys to believe in me and it will work.

He quickly proved his point. After dropping basketball, he became the first student in the history of the high school to earn a scholarship to an online college. A small Baptist institution in eastern Kansas known for having the nation's most storied Call of Duty team is where he was headed. The school's top Call of Duty squad was ranked first in the country, while the B team was ranked second. He could not have found a better collegiate situation.

After a few weeks on the campus, he started to think about going back to his hometown. He was put off by aspects of the team's competitive attitude. The tournaments were for a lot of money and it was difficult to play in them. You were allowed to keep the money from the tournaments even though it was college. Everyone was trying to get those spots so they could win the money. He felt peer pressure to cut classes so he could attend practices.

He decided he would rather live at home and play Call of Duty with the new team. He would begin in the spring. It was a coup forLCCC to have a player with that kind of experience. The original Call of Duty squad had only Jones remaining. Cold War had been replaced in the franchise by the new World War II–themed game. Santhuff was chosen to be a part of the unit. In the team's first semester, the fourth was an aspiring police officer.

Jones was promoted to squad captain because he had once vanished from the 10th graders. The departed players' scholarships will be reallocated to the remaining athletes to help with books and board. Jones was able to reduce his hours as a Walmart delivery driver because of the extra money. He says that financial stress has been a problem for him since he was a teenager. He doesn't think he would have been able to go to school without the scholarship.

The four members of Jones' team were more serious thanTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkiaTrademarkia They began practicing immediately after New Year's, and quickly learned how to intuit one another's positions within the game's maps. They were going to be a force and it was obvious to everyone who watched their scrimmages.

The entire team gathered in the back of the computer lab for the opening match on February 14th. The Wyoming squad fell behind early in the match against a small Montana school. They stumbled into several ambushes after playing the first round in a Call of Duty map that was unfamiliar to them. They worked to sow confusion by attacking from multiple angles and adjusting their tactics in minutes. They dominated the rest of the way after tying the first battle at 105 points each.

The team members didn't stay in the lab to celebrate the victory. As he packed up his gear, Jones said that he had a lot of homework to complete for his classes. He didn't want to fall behind since that could ruin his team's chances of winning the title.

There were some problems in the spring season. The Golden Eagles narrowly won a match against Pennsylvania's Harrisburg Area Community College, but league officials voided the result because of a server issue. In the second match, theLCCC lost in a big way. The team flubbed a game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College while Andy Santhuff was away for a family emergency.

The Golden Eagles missed out on the spring semester playoffs due to the brilliance of Isiaha Ahrens. He was one of the best gunfighters in the league, able to pick off even the most timid targets while jumping into the air or sprinting across a courtyard. He excelled at Call of Duty: Warzone, a battle Royale game in which dozens of players fight until the last one is left. The longer each one lasted, the better their cumulative score was.

The team that went perfect after Northeastern Oklahoma was the sixth seed. They had to beat the top three teams in the country in order to win the title. Jones planned a series of scrimmages to get ready. He wanted the team to play on two maps, one in Berlin and the other in Tuscany. He knew that the two would feature in the playoffs and that each shutter had to be ingrained in the player's mind.

They whooped at the top of their lungs and danced around the empty PCs.

Going into the opening round, the team was nervous. The Golden Eagles scored one point before their opponent scored 35. The comeback was on after the butterflies subsided thanks to the marksmanship of Ahrens and Jones.

Ahrens and Devine formed one of the 25 teams that played in the three-game final of the Warzone championship. The preliminary rounds for Warzone were not held because any team could compete regardless of how they performed during the regular season. League officials took a long time to calculate and confirm the final scores. Domino's was ordered by the Wyomingites. After the lab had emptied, the final verdict came down at 9:15 pm, and it was Ahrens and Devine who had taken first place. They whooped at the top of their lungs and danced around the empty PCs. It was the first national title in 22 years.

The team faced off again three days later in the semifinals. The Golden Eagles were angry over the server issue that cost them a win. They came in determined to get revenge, and they did it in a big way. They had a date with the top seed in the championship.

Jones threw up hours before the last match. He wrote to the team saying he was dying. He didn't know if it was a stomach bug or anxiety. He wondered if he could play from home. A few microseconds of lag can doom even the most skilled player. The captain had to join his teammates because he was sick.

The hard work done by the Golden Eagles was not enough to overcome the speed and grace of the UM players. The final score was a reflection of how thoroughly the team had been thrashed. Santhuff said he felt an urge to bash his head through a wall after the loss, as the athletes pushed away from their keyboards and gave each other fist bumps.

The team wallowed in the dejection of missing out on the league's ultimate prize after the match. An old-fashioned pep talk was delivered by Marquer. He told the athletes that they were all still victorious even though they didn't win today. Even though you didn't get it this time, it's something to look forward to next semester because we'll wipe them out.

Marquer began to talk about what was to come. They were all on track to be back in the fall, but they would have to consider their options afterLCCC. If they could stay in the hunt for national Call of Duty titles, big universities might come calling with scholarship offers, an outcome that Jones, in particular, would have thought impossible the previous May.

He didn't mention his status for the next semester. He didn't know if he'd be offered a full-time position after his contract expired. He thought his case was strong after he won a national title.

Marquer was leaving the college cafeteria after lunch when he saw the administrator who was his contact for next year. She was asked if she knew anything about his job. They should meet in her office within an hour.

He says she explained that the school's hiring board didn't have enough data to make a decision about the program's utility to the college. It didn't make sense to offer Marquer a full-time coaching position. He would have his $15,000-a-year contract renewed in June and they would try to talk about his future in the spring of 2023. The process was over.

Marquer was confused because he had seen something that drove onto the campus. Outside the front entrance there was a huge electronic sign that said CONGRATULATIONS to the team. The call of duty is for zone national championship teams.

I had been talking to Marquer for months and he had assured me that he would be the Golden Eagles coach for a long time. He had a tattoo of the Indian paintbrush on his shin because he loves Wyoming so much. Marquer told me that there was a huge youth exodus in this state. More young people need to stay here. I take a lot of pride in the people that are here, and I know the gaming community is good because it's so cold. I know that I can make it here. His financial desperation had become too much for the school to handle. He couldn't do it anymore because he wanted to be a rock for Wyoming's gaming community.

The athletes were confused by the lack of respect the school had for a coach who had changed their lives. He was surprised that they didn't give him some type of recognition. That means he will get what he deserves. He deserves to make a living. It is not clear if the college will hire a new coach in time for the fall season. With no guidance from above, Jones has assumed sole responsibility for the squad and has arranged a busy summer schedule filled with practices and tournaments, which he will fit in while working as a DoorDash driver.

Marquer was driving his girlfriend's band to a show when I last talked to him. Marquer is currently playing in two bands called Dirt Sucker and Stay Awhile. The latter is named after a character in the game.

I was told by Marquer that he was leaning towards looking for a job in high school or junior college outside of Wyoming. He said it was an amazing opportunity to be on the front lines. He and his girlfriend would like to leave the state and start a family. He wants to find a position where he can afford a house. He found one opening in rural Wisconsin that pays a starting salary of $5,000 a month. For the first time in a long time, Marquer's future looks to be more than he thought it would be.

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