A Message from the Commissioner

August 2019

Finding a circle of friends in high school and middle school was essential for me when I was growing up. I played sports, played in the band, participated in student government, and joined several clubs. As interest in online spaces, video games, and esports has grown, incredible communities have emerged as well. It is a great pleasure to serve as commissioner for NASEF as we seek to support and engage with young people in these digital spaces. 

People often ask how I got involved with esports, first with UCI and now with NASEF. More important than the steps I took, is the way I approach work and life. one set of principles that resonates with me come from the Fish! Philosophy, modeled after the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, WA. Their four tenets are: Play, Make their Day, Be there, and Choose Your Attitude. Here’s how I apply each of those:

Play: Find enjoyment in things you do every day. Give high fives, log into your favorite game, and find ways to make work fun. It does not feel like work when you are playing.

Make their day: Going out of your way to put a smile on someone’s face helps make the world a better place. As Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Be unforgettable.

Be there: You need to show up, on time, ready to go. In esports, work, and life, your friends, family and teammates need to be able to count on you. Get your sleep, eat healthy, take care of school work, and be ready.

Choose your attitude: We cannot control what happens to us but we certainly can control how we respond. Choosing to have a positive attitude and taking responsibility over your life is essential if you want to be successful in life. You are the master of your fate.

Finally, I often get asked about advice for getting into esports. It’s simple - get started. Find something you’re interested in - graphic design, competitive play, streaming, coaching, social media, whatever it is. Get started.

As parents, educators, and students participate in NASEF, I encourage everyone to think about their own style and values. These have served me well and hopefully some of them resonate with you. 

Good Luck and Have Fun


Mark Deppe

Commissioner, North America Scholastic Esports Federation