I don’t think there was one specific moment where I had a realization that it was time to retire. It was a feeling that came to me slowly over time. Like a seed in my brain that just started growing and growing.
I started to have this feeling that I wanted to do something else, that I had other projects and other dreams to pursue. I’m 28 years old, getting closer and closer to 30, and maybe it’s time to do something else.
There have been moments all throughout my career where I’ve thought “screw this”. Like many players, I’ve had tough moments where I’ve thought I would just throw it all out the window. But I never felt like I did when I decided to retire. That was much more of a feeling of serenity.
I’ve had a good run, it’s time to stop now and start a new chapter in my life.
So yeah, I’ve thought of retiring many times, but this was the first time it came in a natural and healthy way.
Obviously, I would be a hypocrite if I said that I would still retire even if LDLC was the best team in the world. If we had performed amazingly well as a team it probably would have prolonged my career a little, but nevertheless, I feel as though it would have just been “bonus time”.
As a matter of fact, I always saw my CS:GO career as something that was time limited in a way. To me, it was never really a long-term option, even if games are becoming more and more popular and viable as a career choice.
It got to a point where I started looking at my life as a whole, and got this urge to build something that would be long-term for me.
CS:GO was an amazing period of my life, it lasted many years, but it was just a period. I wanted to start investing in my personal future, and I think that’s what motivated me to the most to leave CS:GO behind me, as a player at least.
My plan at the moment is to go back to university. I already re-enrolled, I’m going to do a second Masters Degree in clinical psychology. That basically means that in a few years I can become a therapist, at least that’s my goal.
The days and weeks after I retired were a little bit strange for me. On the one hand, I felt very peaceful. To wake up and think “I can do almost anything that I want to today” is a good feeling!
When you’re playing professionally there are many things you would like to do in your life, not even big things but trivial things like reading or going to the gym, and it’s hard to find time for all of it.
I’d have to say it actually felt a little bit lonely at the start though. Being on a team brings with it a lot of social contact with your teammates, and that’s something that I miss. Having fun together, sharing a journey with people I respect, things like that.
there are millions of great moments I’ve had with so many people throughout my whole career. Those are the strongest memories I have. Of course you remember the tournaments and the great games, but for me, it’s all of those little moments.
The big positive side of having this long career as a player was getting to know so many people that I would never have met otherwise. I have so many memories of times where I’ve just been bursting with laughter alongside my teammates and just having fun with them.
Things are a little bit different now than they were four years ago because four years ago it was possible to study, and work, and play professionally at the same time. But it wasn’t easy and I had my struggle with it.
The lowest point of my career was being removed from Titan in 2014. I screwed it up for myself, which is why I regret it.
I had just finished my Masters degree, and I had also finished my internship that I was doing at the time. So I had been balancing university, the internship, and playing for Titan, and it got a little too much. After it had all come to an end, I guess I suffered from a sort of burn out? I don’t know if it was that exactly but that’s what it felt like.
I just wanted to party and do whatever and my level dropped down a lot. I wasn’t a good teammate during that time and I got rightfully removed. That was certainly my lowest point.
I suppose there’s still a risk of that burnout, my mistake was overloading my schedule and trying to balance it all at once. I guess it depends on the individual, CS:GO is very time consuming and I’d say to the younger players that it’s very important to not overdo it if you want to have a successful and long career.
Being successful in esports is a combination of a lot of hard work, and then chance.
At some point no matter how hard you work, someone will need to take a chance on you. You have to utilize that chance by working even harder once you get it. I believe that everyone will get their chance, and it might look different for each person. Maybe you will be waiting a day, a month, or a year, but it will come.
That’s the advice I would give to younger players who are starting their playing journey now. As you can see, I’m now testing myself in the analyst role, which has been a lot of fun so far. That will hopefully be my way of staying involved and contributing to our community.
Being an analyst at an event is almost the exact opposite of being a player. Preparing for the event doesn’t take that much work, I definitely like to do research before I get on the desk, but it’s a lot less than players. But when you get to the event, you are working pretty much every hour that the stream is online, and some before and after usually. It’s less intense, but you have to spend a lot more hours at work.
I have definitely made peace with my decision, but I sometimes find myself watching the matches when I’m at an event and wishing that I was still playing on that stage. It’s a feeling that will always be there.
You watch these tournaments and you reminisce about the crazy times you had on all those stages.
That feeling will never go away, and I wouldn’t expect it to.
Photo Credit: Adela Sznadjer, Abraham Engelmark, and Dreamhack/ Patrick Strack and ESL