League of Legends is my home.
Wherever I feel comfortable, that’s where I call home.
Whenever I’m on stage, people will ask me: “Why are you not nervous?” Why would I be nervous? I’m doing what I love; something worth living for – this is my home.
It’s got me thinking though: why do I think that way? I have to go way back to explain that.
My parents were really young when they got married. My mother married when she was just 14 years old and had my sister when she was 15. Sure, in the past, people used to have their children younger, but even by past standards, it’s still really young.
I don’t think anyone is really ready to have a child at that age. If I had done the same thing as my parents, I would have had a child of my own by now.
The problems for our family started there. When a child is born, they incur a lot of costs. From the moment I was born, my family was always struggling. My parents managed to find jobs in Spain, so we moved there – I was three years old, and my sister was nine.
Growing up in Spain as a Portuguese kid wasn’t easy. I know that people say that kids are good and wholesome, but I dunno, I think they can be really, really evil when they want to. I felt like I was nobody when I was there. At least I was lucky to have Spanish as my first language.
When people didn’t know my name, they thought I was Spanish – I was just another kid. But when people actually looked at it, they saw that I was Portuguese. I was the leftover guy that nobody really liked.
It didn’t help that I was really shy too: I’d be in a corner, trying not to show off, trying to be on my own. But sometimes, when they see that you’re weak, kids really abuse that.
The European financial crisis hit us really hard. The first countries affected were Portugal and Spain. Where do you cut costs when a country is in crisis? You cut in construction. Nobody has money, so they aren’t going to be buying houses.
My father worked in the construction business, so when the crisis happened, he was unemployed before he knew what was happening. My mother was working at a supermarket back then, and her salary wasn’t enough to support all of us.
On top of that, the crisis raised our rent costs. We had to make a change.
Since our extended family owned some coffee shops in Portugal, we decided that maybe, just maybe, we could go there, and they would be able to support us through this rough time.
As far as I was concerned, this was a big problem – I couldn’t speak a word of Portuguese. I could just about understand it, but that was it. So, when I moved back to Portugal at age 14, in the ninth grade, I had to learn a new language.
For me, it was rough. Every week, I had extra classes in Portuguese to try and catch up with my classmates.
I lost sight of where my home was. I got used to being on my own, I was accustomed to being alone.
My parents moved to Switzerland to earn money because, at that moment, we had none at all. My sister and I had to keep studying in Portugal to give ourselves the best possible shot at having a life beyond survival. Survival is not living.
Ever since then, my mind started creating a new image of what home was and what it meant to me.
My sister truly tried her best to raise me, but I was a teenager and I really didn’t know what to do. I was really lost, I didn’t know what to study back or what I was going to do with my life.
So, I played video games all day. I got good, and that’s when I decided, I wanted to become a professional player.
My family didn’t really support my career at first. When I was 18, I had to move to Switzerland to live with them, and I was forced to learn another language: French.
I never really liked living in Switzerland. I would’ve had to study a lot more – because my old studies weren’t compatible – and I would have had to study for 1-2 years and learn French at a very high level before continuing my studies.
That wasn’t for me. I don’t like to waste time.
It was pretty much me against my parents, and my sister was on their side as well. I was like a black sheep.
One day, I saw that Giants Gaming had an offer for me and that I would have to go to their gaming house in Malaga if I accepted.
It wasn’t for a big salary, but it is what it is. I accepted it, then I spoke to my parents that night and said: “I’m leaving next month.” That was my decision.
Even though it might have been a little crazy to not ask anybody before going to Malaga for a team that wasn’t even made to succeed at the time, I had no plan B. I had one plan in mind – to make it to the EU LCS.
When you only have one plan, you don’t have room to fail; you will do everything it takes to get there.
Without my past, I would never be here today. When I joined Giants, I knew I didn’t want to play in the LVP; I saw that they had a team in the LCS and I wouldn’t be satisfied until I played there and wanted to be the best that I could be.
I was basically the only person that knew what I really wanted.
I got my break when the main roster was relegated. When that happened, they trusted me and my teammates – most of who became Vitality’s 2018 squad – to get them back there.
I’ve been playing with Jiizuke and Jactroll for about two years now. They both really know me and understand me -they’re my brothers. They live in the same world that I live in and I feel really comfortable to be with them on a daily basis.
My family supports me fully now. A little after I joined Giants, they started to understand what it meant to me and what it could be for me. After 2017 – the year when we rolled over everybody – they understood how huge it was.
So what does home mean to me?
For me, home is not just a place where your loved ones live – that is where I go for vacations. Today, Berlin is my home. It’s the place where I feel most comfortable, the place where I want to be.
Home is where I am the pro player; League of Legends is my home.
Image Credit: Riot Games