The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Smash Club struggles to stay in fight with attendance dropping

Erik Cheng
The Super Smash Bros Club repurposes the class SMART Board to serve as the main display for their gaming.

Carlmont’s Super Smash Bros Club remains hopeful as attendance shortages and classroom restrictions impede club activities. 

Super Smash Bros Club, more commonly known as Smash Club, has been a staple of Carlmont student life for years. As far back as 2017, students have flocked to A-10 during lunch to enjoy a few matches of the widely popular video game, Super Smash Bros or Smash. Specifically, with the new release of Super Smash Bros Ultimate in 2018, students can choose from a variety of unique characters to play against each other in the brawl-style arena game.

The club has been advised by Gregory Fung, a physics teacher at Carlmont, since its inception.

“Some of my students asked me several years back if I’d be the advisor, and I accepted because I like advising clubs and I’m happy to help out clubs and students that meet in my room,” Fung said. 

The club meets on Mondays, using Fung’s projector as the primary display for their matches. Different students challenge each other to test their skills and enjoy each other’s company.

Tomoki Urata, a sophomore at Carlmont, attends regularly and enjoys the club’s competitive yet welcoming atmosphere.

“It allows bonding with people with a passion that you all share and has helped me feel more connected to other students,” Urata said.

Previously, the club primarily focused on playing Smash. However, with the release of various games, such as Celeste, the club encouraged members to use their own devices and play other games. With the school not providing appropriate equipment for the club, members bring their own devices to use. Primarily, the club uses the Nintendo Switch to play Smash because of its portable size.

While waiting for their turns on the main display, club members observe other matches on different stations in the room to stay engaged. (Erik Cheng)

Recently, the club has experienced a dry period, where regular members are beginning to attend less and less. Vice President, senior at Carlmont, and long-time member Pavlik Gribanosky notes that attendance has been steadily declining since the beginning of the school year.

“At the beginning of the year, our attendance was extremely high, comparable to that of pre-Covid, but, as the months have gone by, fewer and fewer members have begun showing up,” Gribanosky said. 

Furthermore, events such as official club tournaments have entirely stopped. In the past, tournaments were hosted during lunch and broadcasted to the entire school, encouraging non-club members to participate. According to a previous Scot Scoop article, tournaments had up to 45 participants signed up to participate, making the tournament last multiple months as only a few rounds could be played during lunch.

However, due to Carlmont’s new COVID-19 restrictions and policies, organizing tournaments has become too complex for the club to manage.

“We cannot really host any official events as they would require permission slips, teacher overseers, a lot of unnecessary hassle that would not be worth the effort for a ten-person tournament,” Gribanosky said.

Club President and senior En Murphy has arranged monthly tournaments at the Belmont Library; however, these tournaments are outside of the regular club activities. The tournaments she hosts are much smaller as an average of 15 members and non-members sign up per tournament. 

Moreover, regular meetings have also become increasingly difficult as membership and attendance decline. The school policies that prohibit students from eating in classrooms have made meetings shorter and harder to run.

“I feel the main issue is the fact that we cannot eat inside classrooms. Smash Club members used to eat and then play games of Smash with their friends on their own switches in the same room. However, because of the 15 minute grace period, most of which is also spent waiting in the lunch line for food, it’s just not possible with the current situation and will not be possible until maybe even 2023,” Gribanosky said.

“As long as Pavlik and I still go to Carlmont, Smash club will continue to happen every Monday.

— En Murphy

The club continues to meet despite the challenges and the club officers continue to make an effort to make the club inclusive and fun for new players. Additionally, the club members continually make efforts to play the game outside of the club, using the lunch period to enjoy the game and eat with their friends at the same time.

“Even if the club were to shut down, I think that I will at least continue to play the game with the members of the club,” Urata said. 

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About the Contributor
Erik Cheng
Erik Cheng, Scot Scoop Managing Editor
Erik Cheng (Class of 2024) enjoys camping, backpacking, cooking, and photography. He currently serves as Managing Editor of Scot Scoop but continues to explore his passion for discovering local stories and investigation. You can find him discovering new communities in the area, hiking up mountains, desperately trying not to burn down his parents' kitchen, working at REI, or taking photos of the local flora and fauna. View his portfolio here.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Smash Club struggles to stay in fight with attendance dropping