I don’t really know the details, but I think the London Spitfire chose to sell me to the Gladiators because they thought that the Gladiators were a weak team.
When I was being sold to the Los Angeles Gladiators, I think that there were other teams interested in me. I think that Spitfire thought I wouldn’t be a threat to them on what they considered a low-tier team, but regardless of where I ended up, I was confident in my ability to return to the top.
I joined the Gladiators during the break between Stage 1 and 2, and things got off to an unfortunate start. I did not have the greatest first impression of the team because, at that time, their standing in the Overwatch League was not impressive. I couldn’t help but feel that we should be working with far more diligence.
Fortunately, there was a turning point after our rough beginning. I remember being with my teammates one day and seeing Hydration just grinding games, on his own, around the clock. He was practicing really hard and I think that inspired us to turn things around as a team.
It didn’t take long for it to become clear to me that the Gladiators players were brimming with potential. As a Main Tank, you have a lot of control over how your team plays the game. I was able to direct the flow of the team, and in helping us establish a more solidified style, I was able to see that all of my teammates were amazing.
They were beautiful marble that simply hadn’t been cut yet, and once we carved out our synergy, they shined.
The coaching staff worked incredibly hard on our strategies and I was directing the team from a strategic standpoint in game. We started winning more games, and with teamwork becoming more autonomous, our individual levels of mechanical skill increased.
Our scrim results were better with every week. We started to win more games and that raised morale throughout the ranks. People were working harder than ever before.
I always had the mentality that I wanted to bring the team to a higher level, but looking back, it wasn’t easy; there were times when I felt like giving up. The language barrier was extremely difficult to overcome at first; there were a lot of miscommunications that led to teamwork not meshing well and us coming up short in big moments.
Language barriers can be huge issues for professional teams, and because of the cultural difference, there are often contextual miscommunications. Knowing the right “set” of words simply isn’t enough. I misinterpreted my teammates a lot and vice-versa.
Once I realized my mistakes, however, I apologized to my teammates and they did the same. I’ve been told my teammates have had very good things to say about how quickly my English has improved, so that makes me happy.
I feel like, because I’m not afraid to make mistakes when I speak English, I was able to learn it much quicker. I think some other Korean players who come to the United States to play professionally often have more trouble learning because they are nervous about making mistakes in front of English speakers.
I can’t take all of the credit for myself, of course. I’ve been able to pick things up so quickly because of Bischu. Sometimes it was really hard to understand English, so he would translate in-game for me at first in real time. That helped a lot in the beginning.
By the time Void joined the team, my English had become good enough for me to make calls on my own in English. I’m not quite as good as Bischu, but it’s funny being in-game with Void and being the one translating for him.
I’m known for being very vocal when it comes to standing up for my beliefs. As everyone knows, I’m very much against boosting. I want to make clear that I’m not trying to ban other overseas players or ruin anyone’s careers just because of my own past, but I do think it’s important for people to own up to things and serve proper punishment for past mistakes.
As a Korean import, I feel it’s necessary to bring that up, even if it’s uncomfortable to talk about or sacrifices my own image. As a Korean player in the Overwatch League, it’s important to set that standard as an example for other Korean players looking to joining the league.
I want to be remembered as a player who did everything for the fans. That’s why I’m very adamant about addressing sensitive topics like boosting and cheating.
A lot of my fans have gone through a lot of bad experiences because of boosting, so it’s extremely important to me to be the best player and person that I can be.
Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment