Presenting An Alternative

*This article was constructed from a Q&A interview.*

I’ve always thought it would be interesting to inform people outside of the esports world about how everything functions.

For all the growth the industry has seen, there are still a number of prejudices about gamers that are ridiculous and untrue.

The idea of doing school and college presentations was pretty random at first, though I had previously toyed with the idea of going back to either my primary school or high school to tell them about my journey as a pro gamer.

The concept became a reality after I was contacted by a fan from my hometown, who’s now a student at my old primary school. He originally wanted to meet me and get an autograph, but later proposed that I came to his school to do a presentation.

I told him that it sounded like a great idea, and together with a teacher from the school, we made it happen.

As a result, I’ve been pretty active in the off-season, doing presentations at two local schools in addition to interviews for the national press in Denmark.

I cover a range of topics in my presentation, though the primary focus is on my journey over the past few years; from esports being a hobby and just casually playing with friends at school, to now being such a huge part of my life.

Outside of my personal experiences, I talk about the daily life of a professional gamer in Berlin, the value of our supporting staff, what my daily schedule looks like, but also keeping it light with some fun stories.

Generally, it’s really fun to talk about my life and esports in front of the students. Even those who have absolutely no interest in esports always listen and ask questions.

It can be difficult for me to understand how even fans deeply invested in the esports scene have so little insight on what typical schedules look like and how many staff members actually help the team; so there’s certainly value in the presentation for them.

Similarly, as soon as I mention that esports players go through hair and makeup before going on stage, every girl in the audience starts laughing.

The response has been really great so far. Luckily, both students and teachers have found the presentations exciting and educative.

The teachers have been really happy with the fact that I’m not only doing a presentation for students with a pre-existing knowledge of esports.

When presenting to a mixed audience, I think the most important quality is to find a balance that makes it exciting for the die-hard fans and the ones who have no knowledge about this new “world”; giving basic information about esports and League of Legends, with more juicy stuff about playing in the EU LCS and at the World Championships for the long-term fans.

When you’re a public person, a lot of people follow what you do and dream of being in your shoes, and therefore they’ll start copying your routines and habits.

It’s really important to be a stable person and someone that people can look up to. In this case, just like many other cases, I don’t think there’s a difference between traditional sports and esports.

I think people generally have the idea that being a professional gamer is always fun and exciting, just sitting in front of the computer, playing games all day long.

Of course, I’m lucky in that I do find it enjoyable most of the time, but just like in other jobs, there are occasions where you have a hard time making things work.

There are moments where you get really frustrated and stressed and have to work hard on stuff that you don’t enjoy doing. It’s a serious job with a lot of pressure from organisations and fans, in addition to the self-motivated drive to succeed, not to mention the long work hours.

Esports professionals are often required to move away from family, friends and in some cases, even girlfriends, very rarely getting to see them.

Normal traditions need to be ignored for the most part as you’re required to live in a bubble with your team, at times not being as social as you’d like – that’s certainly true, at least for my part.

Yet, ultimately, whilst these factors serve to make the job tough, they also make it exciting and worthwhile in the end.

I think teaching about and raising awareness around esports is really important.

Tricked Esports is one of the frontrunners for esports in Denmark, so seeing all the work they’re doing makes me proud of being a previous player for the organisation.

Sadly, I didn’t stick around long enough to ever see their work at Campus Vejle unfold myself, but I’m sure I’ll get the chance eventually.

My old coach, Filip “Valentine” Holde, is now a teacher at the high school and we have already discussed the prospect of me coming to do a presentation and potentially coaching some of the academy teams. I think it’s just a matter of time before it happens.

I’m just trying to do what I can to help, even though my schedule doesn’t allow much time to do so. The general perception of gamers is so flawed, and something has to be done about it. Slowly, the older generations in Denmark are starting to accept esports more and more, which is really nice to see.

I think schools taking part in the integration process will be really helpful for future gamers – both casual and professional players – since the public view will be very different and thereby make life easier.

I’m not sure if I necessarily want to inspire others, but I am definitely trying my best to be a good role model for aspiring esports players and fans.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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