I think I got my competitive nature from playing Tennis when I was younger. I was really good at tennis, to be honest. Even though I was still young, I was training with people who were much older than me. I think I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, training against actual adults.
It might be different elsewhere but in the Netherlands, the tennis ranking system goes from nine to one, where nine is the worst and one is the best. I was a four when I was just 13 or 14 years old, which is insane.
I had to stop playing because it was taking a huge toll on my body.
At a certain point, I was getting some sort of injury every time I played, my body just couldn’t handle it at all. It was mainly my back that had the most problems.
I could have played on if I really wanted to, but the whole thing was very demotivating. I would play in a match or a tournament, do really well, and then I’d have to stop playing for a week, or two weeks, or a month.
I’ve been told that I should have stuck with it and attempted to become a tennis pro, but you have to see it through my eyes. I was 13 or 14 years old, being told that the only way to play tennis without constant pain would be to spend hours in the gym every day.
I decided to just let it go and move on.
Despite leaving tennis behind, my urge to compete never really left me. Unfortunately, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to compete at the high level of regular sports, so it makes sense that online video games were appealing to me.
Initially, I got heavily into Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, and League of Legends. None of those individually grabbed my interest enough for me to push myself to get very high ranked, although I did once get into the top 1000 on Hearthstone.
When Rocket League came out I just got it because my friends did, I wasn’t interested in it myself. In fact, when we first played I was put into bronze 3, which is actually the worst rank in the game.
Obviously, I wasn’t happy about that. Even though I initially wasn’t interested in the concept of the game, the way in which it was played got my attention. Most of my friends put in maybe 50 or 60 hours in the first season, but I probably played over 180.
In my attempts to gain ranks, I decided to watch Twitch and learn from pro players, which is something I learned from Hearthstone. At the start, I was mainly watching Rizzo and Kronovi. I learned a lot from them.
In Rocket League you can track your rank and see where you are in your region. I remember seeing that I was top 300 and it surprised me. I was like “that’s even better than Hearthstone, and I’m pretty good at Hearthstone!”
It was only when I broke into the top 50 that I put any serious thought into trying to find a team.
To be honest I still didn’t feel like I was that good, despite being so high on the ladder. I guess at that point I had never been at the top level of anything, I was decent at tennis, and I was decent at Hearthstone, but never professional.
I used to stream a little in Dutch. No one really knew who I was but I just enjoyed streaming so I did it anyway. Nielskoek came into my channel and we started chatting one day. That’s what eventually led to me subbing for his team.
He was a big part in getting me involved in competitive play. Even though I wasn’t actually playing all that often.
The first team I actually played in was one that I made myself. I was playing with Kar0ttenpower, Zee9, and dynami4sure.
The team environment wasn’t great, and we pretty much clashed with each other all the time. We made some changes to try and make the team work but in the end, we just failed. At least I was able to get some experience in competitive games though.
The high ranked players knew about me a little, but outside that, I wasn’t known at all. I actually developed a little reputation for being “toxic”, or maybe arrogant is the better word. I was just making jokes really.
I ended up using that reputation in the Gfinity Elite Series to make it a bit more fun for everyone. Our team was pretty bad and I knew it, but any time I got interviewed I would say that we were going to 3-0 the other team.
The roster itself was; me, Frag, Swo6ix, Microstar, and Epicsolutionz. We were playing for Reason gaming. Frag was decent, and I knew him from some other tournaments and qualifiers. But I didn’t know the others.
The team really wasn’t very good. I didn’t hide my feelings about that.
I’m not the kind of person to complain about someone behind their back. I initially joined as a sub, and they asked for my opinion of the team. I told them the truth; that I didn’t expect the team to win a single series throughout the season.
I ended up playing a few weeks with them, and we picked up a single win against Endpoint, who ended up winning the whole thing.
I never disliked them as people, and I respect the effort they put in to improve, but when the season ended we disbanded immediately. I know Microstar is now playing professional PUBG, and Frag has been playing in some events, so good for them. I’m not sure what the others are up to.
It’s kind of funny that season two was the complete opposite of season one.
Me, Borito, Tigree, and Speed were playing together in online tournaments, and beating really strong teams like Gale Force. I got in touch with Reason Gaming again and they offered us a contract that day.
Tigree actually started out with a sub contract, but we brought him into the main team fairly quickly. Speed is a good player but it wasn’t working out in the team. Our faith in Tigree was paid off throughout the Elite Series. My expectation for the team was to make the playoffs, and we ended up winning the whole thing unbeaten.
I won 7,500 Euros, and that’s when my parents were like “okay, I guess this gaming thing is pretty serious”
After the season we were in talks with Method and Reason Gaming. I wanted to make sure we were a good fit for each other. We negotiated with Method for a few weeks and eventually, we found an agreement.
They were definitely hoping that we would make it to the RLCS, which unfortunately hasn’t happened yet. We’ve had good results in Gfinity, but we really want to transfer those results to RLRS.
Being stuck in RLRS can be pretty demotivating.
The system is very broken in my opinion. RLRS is very unstable, and one bad day can pretty much kill your team. In the RLCS, one bad day can knock you down to the relegation tournament, but you at least have the chance to make up for your bad day. There is no such luxury in RLRS.
You can go 6-1 in RLRS and not make the playoffs, but as we saw this season, you can go 2-5 in RLCS and still have a chance to make the playoffs. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen in my opinion.
It’s been two seasons for me now, and it’s not too bad yet, but I know that if we can’t make it next season, or the season after, then I might have to start thinking about the future of the team, or my future in the team.
I’m happy to keep trying as long as my team also has the mindset of trying to improve, which we have at the moment. I will not give up while there is a chance I can make the RLCS.
A lot of people think I’m arrogant. I disagree. I’m not trying to be a loser.
Playing Tennis all those years taught me to be confident in myself. Travelling across the country to play in matches taught me the most valuable lesson I’ve ever known.
If you don’t believe that you are going to win, you may as well not even show up.
Image Credit: Joe Brady and Gfinity