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Rocket League 101: Gamer's guide to success

Rocket League 101: Gamer's guide to success

What is Rocket League?

On Saturday, Aug. 12, we here at CSN Chicago will deliver a completely new and exciting viewing experience: Our first e-sports broadcast featuring the immensely popular "Rocket League" video game. NBC Sports and FaceIt have teamed up to present the Universal Open Rocket League Tournament with a $100,000 prize pool.

$100,000.

That can buy A LOT of Lou Malnati’s. Or, more video games. Probably more video games.

Now for the traditional sports fan, the thought of watching a dude or dudette click buttons while staring at a screen may not be the most appealing viewing experience. But, go ahead and open another tab, search Rocket League goals and then come back to finish this article.

Go on. We’ll wait.

Here’s a gif.

Pretty neat, right?

In the simplest explanation: Rocket League is soccer using cars, instead of human players. The cars are equipped with rockets, which allow gamers to perform aerial acrobatics while reaching supersonic speeds. Imagine having turbo on Bastian Schweinsteiger or David Accam while you play FIFA on your Xbox. Take the Chicago Fire, and go Super Saiyan.

Like many sports (except golf), the team with the highest score wins. Put the ball into the goal more than your opponent, and you win. If you win, you’ll level up your status and unlock customization options for your car. Pull off a wicked save and you’ll hear the fake stadium crowd “ooh” and “ahh” while your teammates send congratulations. The gameplay makes the experience fun for players of all levels, novice to Neymar.

The biggest difference between a rookie and a Rocketeer is the aerial game. When you watch the pro gamers play on Aug. 12, you’ll see the ball barely touches the turf. His Airness would even be impressed. So, if you’re inspired to pick up the game and play, don’t expect to pull off the slick shots until you practice, practice, practice. Take a spin through the tutorial modes before challenging opponents online.

Another way to compare the Noobs to the Pros: The skill level difference is similar to say…playing the piano, which you use your hands to make music. Except in this case, your hands will be mashing buttons to make goals instead of "Chopsticks." The pros are Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. Composing classical goals, saves and passes that will appease all of your senses.

Okay, but maybe you’re still not sold on this watching the game thing.

Did I mention you can play as the Batmobile?

Or, how about the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future?

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Speaking of advances in technology, the ease of access to the World Wide Web now allows gamers to play with or against folks from all over planet Earth (…for now…you never know what NASA could do with Rocket League on Mars!)

During the actual gameplay, players can communicate strategy options, send virtual smack talk and offer praise for great plays. Plus, via Twitch and other social media outlets, many of the pro gamers can interact with people that watch them play live.

Simply: e-sports is here to stay.

34 million people have played Rocket League since the game's release in 2015. That’s 15 times the population of Chicago.

And, that’s just one game.

E-sports' meteoric rise will only grow more with the Universal Open Rocket League presented by NBC Sports and FaceIt. Whether you stream it online, on your phone or tune in to watch it on TV, you’ll be amazed by what you see. Above all else, we will have some of the best and brightest gamers in the world competing in our CSN Studios. You’ll get a chance to see the emotion behind the game, the people behind the car and experience the high-octane pulse of Rocket League.

The countdown has already begun. Aug. 12, we launch.

ICYMI: Bears hire Pagano as defensive coordinator; White Sox favorites for Machado; Bulls and Boylen reportedly agree to new deal

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Bears hire Pagano as defensive coordinator; White Sox favorites for Machado; Bulls and Boylen reportedly agree to new deal

The Bears named Chuck Pagano defensive coordinator, White Sox and Phillies are reportedly the favorites to sign Manny Machado and the Bulls and Jim Boylen agreed to a new contract. Here's what you might have missed from the weekend in Chicago sports:

Bears

The Bears moved quickly to replace the departed Vic Fangio, hiring former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano as defensive coordinator. Here's what fans can expect from Pagano in Chicago.

Despite changing defensive coordinators, one should expect continued excellence from the Bears' defense in 2019. This isn't really because of the coach, but because of the players on the Bears' defense.

Cody Parkey remained in the news following his missed field goal in last week's Wild Card game. Parkey appeared on the TODAY show to discuss the fallout from the game.

Also, Goose Island hosted a contest where contestants had one chance to kick a 43-yard field goal (the distance at which Parkey missed his kick). Those who successfully made the kick would be awarded free NFL tickets, though all 103 contestants failed, some miserably. 

Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews might have trolled Staley, the Bears mascot, during Sunday's game against the Saints.

White Sox

Late Sunday night, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the White Sox have offered Manny Machado an eight-year contract. In the same report, Passan said that the White Sox "could portend the ability to proffer a decade-long offer" as well.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Phillies are the "clear-cut favorite" to land Bryce Harper. In the same report, Nightengale predicted that the White Sox will sign Machado, as they will be his only suitor if/when the Phillies add Harper. The Phillies reportedly met with Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Machado's high school baseball coach thinks the superstar infielder will sign with the White Sox, too.

The White Sox avoided arbitration with all four of their arbitration-eligible players on Friday.

Bulls

Friday, the Bulls recorded their worst first quarter point-differential in franchise history in a 149-124 loss to the Warriors. Golden State led the Bulls 43-17 after the first 12 minutes of the game.

Saturday was much more promising for the Bulls, though they lost to the Jazz 110-102 in a hard-fought loss. Bobby Portis missed Saturday's game with elbow soreness after Warriors forward Kevin Durant seemingly hit the former intentionally during Friday's game.

Before Saturday's game, multiple reports said that the Bulls and head coach Jim Boylen agreed to a new deal. The deal makes sense considering that Boylen signed his previous contract while serving as an assistant coach.

Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews will not participate in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, as Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog beat Toews in the "Last Men In" vote.

The Blackhawks traded defenseman Jan Rutta to the Lightning for Slater Koekkoek on Friday. Tampa Bay drafted Koekkoek, 24, 10th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Where does Koekkoek fit in with the Blackhawks?

Saturday, the Blackhawks surrendered three unanswered goals against the Golden Knights, falling to Vegas 4-3 in overtime. Goaltender Collin Delia gave up all four goals, though he has been great for the Blackhawks in Corey Crawford's absence.

The Blackhawks scored two power play goals on Saturday, continuing their hot streak on the man-advantage.

Cubs

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs want a shot to sign Bryce Harper, though the team's ownership is unlikely to provide approval.

The Cubs agreed to one-year contracts with all seven of their arbitration eligible players. Where does the team's payroll stand now?

Who are the Cubs who can claim to be the only player in the Majors in 2018 to accomplish something?

Len Kasper stopped by the latest Cubs Talk Podcast.

ICYMI: Bears' season ends in unbelievable finish; Blachkawks still own Penguins; Bobby Portis makes impact in return for Bulls

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Bears' season ends in unbelievable finish; Blachkawks still own Penguins; Bobby Portis makes impact in return for Bulls

The Bears season ended in unbelievable fashion, the Blackhawks beat the Penguins for the 10th straight time and Bobby Portis had a good return in another Bulls loss. Here's what you might have missed from the weekend in Chicago sports:

Bears

The Bears season ended in heartbreak after a Cody Parkey field goal hit the upright and the crossbar before bouncing out in the final seconds. Parkey got booed on his way off the field and Eagles players were thanking him for missing. It turns out the field goal was slightly tipped at the line. The Bears defended their kicker.

Trey Burton didn't play with a "strange" injury and Eddie Jackson dressed, but didn't play

The Bears were stunned at the early playoff exit, so what's next for the Bears?

Blackhawks

The Blackhawks beat the Penguins for the 10th straight time on Sunday. They trailed 2-0, but picked up a 5-3 win. Earlier in the weekend, the Blackhawks sent down Dylan Sikura to Rockford and Sheldon Brookbank joined the coaching staff as an assistant. Here is a recap of how Blackhawks prospects fared at the World Juniors, including Henri Jokiharju's gold medal.

Bulls

Bobby Portis returned to the court on Sunday and had 17 points in 20 minutes. The Bulls lost to the Nets at home, but Portis' play was a bright spot. Elsewhere, Tom Thibodeau is out at Minnesota, but Fred Hoiberg could be in consideration to be his replacement. The Cavs also picked up Cam Payne on a 10-day contract only a few days after the Bulls released him.