A New Passion

I have played a lot of video games in my life, but I never thought I’d go pro.

I put a lot of time into League of Legends initially. I got to Diamond, which I guess is pretty good considering most of the players are below Silver, but it was nowhere near the level to play professionally.

I gave up on League, that game was too hard.

It was at that point that one of my friends got me into Rocket League. Once we started playing together, I was hooked; I couldn’t get enough of it.

To me, Rocket League is appealing because Psyonix basically created their own genre. I’ve always been a fan of traditional sports so the fact that Rocket League had a clear sporting dimension to it was very appealing.

Even though my friends stopped playing over time, I didn’t.

I kept climbing and eventually I reached a high rank on the leaderboard. That’s when I began to get noticed as a player and, eventually, I joined a team and started competing.

Although this was my first time competing in esports I had played a lot of traditional sports growing up. I think that experience, especially playing golf to a high standard, really helped me in my preparation to compete.

You’re all alone on that course when you play golf; you have to really understand your own game. It helped me to be introspective as a player. There’s a lot of pressure on every shot and you have to learn how to handle high-pressure situations.

Going pro in Rocket League became my ultimate goal but I wasn’t always sure that I would be able to it. As a fallback, I was planning for my future if being a pro player didn’t work out.

At the beginning of my career, I was a graphic designer, which is what I went to school for, and I worked full-time.

It was definitely tough to balance my time. If I wasn’t working or spending time with my family or girlfriend, I was playing Rocket League. It was a lot. I didn’t really have any breaks.

Most pro players at that time didn’t really balance anything full-time alongside competing. I knew working full-time wasn’t sustainable, so eventually, I moved to part-time to ease the strain.

Even though I was losing consistent and guaranteed income by pursuing Rocket League, I was excited to commit to it. Fortunately,  I was working for my family’s business and they supported my decision fully.

There was a safety net – I knew if things didn’t work out playing Rocket League, I would be able to move back to full time.

Even today, I still work for them. Since Rocket League is a relatively big esport now – compared to when it first started – and compensation for players has increased significantly, I don’t necessarily need the work. I do it to help out the family business and continue working on something I am also passionate about.

I do think about my future from time to time. I know it’s a reality that one day I won’t be able to play video games for a living and that kind of makes me sad. At 23, I’m on the older side of a pro gaming career.

I just hope that I can continue to ride this wave as a pro player and stay competitive for as long as possible.

Hearing the crowd cheer the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song at Worlds was an awesome moment. I had been to LAN before but I wasn’t used to getting that much attention on stage.

I know I’m one of the few pros with a topper on my car. I started wearing a topper because I wanted to create an identity for myself as a player.

I chose a pirate hat for no other reason than pirates are corrupt. I think my pirate hat makes me easily recognizable and has helped me build my brand as a player. I definitely saw the result of that at Worlds.

The crowd in London was incredible. They were so loud, way louder than any other Rocket League event. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, thank you for that.

Although we lost early to Chiefs, we definitely shocked some people, beating top teams in the loser’s bracket. We narrowly lost to the eventual world champions, and we surpassed everyone’s expectations, so I couldn’t be too upset with our run.

I can’t imagine my life without professional Rocket League. Worlds in London was honestly one of the best moments of my entire life.

Reflecting back on now only makes me hungrier for the new season.

Image Credit: Evil Geniuses

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