Ethan Decatur ’24 Continues Valpo Family Tradition Through Esports

Long live family traditions of attending Valparaiso University and leaving a legacy. Ethan Decatur ’24, from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, has signed to play Esports at Valpo and will be the 20th member of his family to attend Valpo. 

“I chose Valpo because of the sense of community and acceptance that comes with the school,” Ethan says. “Everyone on campus is respectful and welcoming. I have already met lots of people that fit this description before even starting school here.”

In addition to the attractive campus feel, Esports pulled Ethan to Valpo. After expressing an interest in the team, Ethan worked with Tristan Leonhard, Director of Recreational Sports, in the recruitment process to play Esports for the University. 

“The recruiting process was pretty straightforward,” Ethan says. “I was surprised by how quick the response was. Tristan sent me an email with some questions asking me how long I’d been playing the game, what my online rank is, and how often I play. When I came out to Valpo for a visit, I met with Tristan to get a tour of the Esports lab. After that, I was sent a link to a form for the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) that confirmed my intent to compete with Valparaiso University for Rocket League.”

Aside from competing in Rocket League, Ethan spends his free time playing Project Cars 2, an advanced car-simulator game that allows gamers to compete against people, and on race tracks from all over the world.

“I am a pretty big racing fan, and I spent most of my time in quarantine practicing on my driving simulator,” Ethan says. “I enjoy participating in Rocket League, but simulator racing provides a nice break for me when I need to take a step back from Rocket League. I have met people from all parts of the world by being a member of the racing community. I have learned quite a bit about those parts of the world through conversations while ‘on the track.’”

During his time at Valpo, Ethan plans to major in international economic and cultural affairs and minor in German. Ethan is president of Model United Nations and in the orchestra at his high school, and he hopes to get involved in similar activities at Valpo.

“I am hoping to learn all that I will need to know to succeed in the world after graduation,” Ethan says. “Given Valpo’s impressive track record in regards to job placement and admission to graduate school, I am sure I’ll have no problems with those goals.”

Specifically, Ethan is looking forward to using his strengths and passion for gaming to bring more publicity to Valparaiso University. 

“I would like to be able to take part in an activity that allows me to meet new people and work together with others to reach a common goal,” Ethan says. “Teamwork is an important aspect of all activities and is something that will be quite present on the Esports team.”

His journey to success is just beginning at Valpo, and, just as 19 members of his family did before him, his goals are set high upon graduation. After college, his dream is to work in either international trade or international relations. 

“Whether it be with the United States government or a non-governmental organization, I would like to focus on working with others to make sure things all over the world get done and completed with simplicity and without difficulty,” Ethan says.