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Time Out with Elizabeth Layton

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What is your background in esports?

Professionally, I’d say it was a series of right place, right time. I never knew that this could be a career option for me when I went to college and so I pursued a career in library science. In 2019 I was in the right faculty senate meeting at the right time at Nicholls State University when the university president, Jay Clune, mentioned he had some interest in building an esports program and to keep an eye out if anyone was interested. My hand immediately shot up, and that’s when my entire career changed. With the help of the community, some fantastic students, and some insightful colleagues I was able to build one of the first esports programs in Louisiana.

How long have you been coaching at OC and what do you like most about coaching here?

I’ve been here since March 20, but I feel like this is home already. I don’t know if I could describe just one thing that I love about coaching here there are so many reasons I love The University of Olivet, but if I had to choose one, I’d have to say it’s how everyone has a seat at the table. I love how inclusive Olivet is and how sincere everyone is to make sure everyone feels safe and included.

Where does your passion for esports stem from?

I think video games have always been a part of my life. I remember one Christmas I was little, spending time with my cousins and they brought over their new Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye. One round of that game, and I was hooked. Video games have always been a way to connect with people especially when I was growing up. It was a way that I bonded with my little brother, it was how I made a lot of my friends in college, it was how I built my relationship with my spouse, and it was why I moved to Michigan. Because I know what gaming is capable of and how it brings people together, I just want to share that with everyone.

What’s one thing you will tell your student-athletes when you see they need to be inspired or reassured that they’ve got what it takes to succeed, whether in their sport or in the classroom?

So, everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve had this mantra. I used to use it as a way to combat my own imposter syndrome but as I began coaching and leading, it’s something I often share with those that are worried about the “what ifs” you know? The “what if I can’t succeed” or “what if this doesn’t work out” or for a lot of my students who are transitioning from high school to college or college to their careers, “what if I can’t repeat my success.” My mantra is, “You are your success, and wherever you go, your success will follow you.” I know it sounds strange, but the way I think of it, we often think our success is something bigger than us or something we can’t control, but no matter where we go, we are successful because we are the ones succeeding. We sometimes need to remember everything we’ve accomplished, reflect, and know that we are successful because we create success.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?

I am an absolute consumer of cinema. I love movies because every movie to me, good or bad, is a piece of art. I don’t even have a particular genre that I gravitate towards, I just love getting lost in the world, interpreting the symbolism and breaking down a film much like you would with a book or a song.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m just so excited to be here. I love the environment that gaming provides and how it brings people together from all walks of life in all stages of their lives, and I can’t wait to have that on this campus.

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