I’m a proactive person: trial and error is how I learn. If I have my sights set on something, I just go again and again until I achieve it.
It all started when I was young. My brothers are both older than me – four and seven years respectively – and they used to kick my ass at video games.
When I was nine, I remember we got Dragon Ball: Budokai and Halo 2 on the same day. We had a PlayStation 2 and an Xbox and we played both games around the clock.
They destroyed me every day until around my 12th birthday, then I started destroying them.
Once I started beating them, they wanted to start over and try to 2v1 me. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost – but over those years of having my ass kicked, they’d pushed me to the point where I am now; they had pushed me to become a competitor.
My first competitive gaming experience was playing Halo 3.
I started playing the game when I was 13, but by the time I was 14, I was sprinting home from school every day to turn on the Xbox 360.
I was Rank 50 in almost every bracket, and I had my own team – with a very cringe name that I won’t share with you – on GameBattles. We were ranked 18th in Europe at our peak and we were doing really well.
Of course, there wasn’t any money involved, but just competing made the game more fun.
Getting into a competition against people who desperately want to beat you, not playing just for fun, it becomes really exciting. I felt it back then, and I still feel it now.
My time on Halo didn’t last long; by age 15-16, Halo 3: ODST came out and it was trash. Everyone left the scene, so did I.
I decided to join my brother in World of Warcraft. Back then, Wrath of the Lich King was out. People from who played during that era may remember a Holy Paladin under the name of Sovereign.
I reached Rank 1 three times in the ladder from Season 6 to Season 8, and I started playing in online tournaments. We were playing for €4000/5000 in arena tournaments, so it was pretty decent. Even though we typically finished 6th or 7th – it gave me my first taste of the competitive gaming experience.
As I was growing up and getting older, however, life was catching up to me.
Up until I was 17 years old, I had lived in Spain. I had completed my first year of high school and I had planned to go to university, but after I moved back to England, I ended up quitting college after my first year.
There were some complications with the transition from Spain to England and, in short, they told me that I needed to repeat my previous year of high school.
I wasn’t going to start over.
I got a job in IT networking instead and did that for two years until a professional career in League of Legends became a realistic option.
It was around Season 5 when I hit Challenger for the first time; just playing for fun, not grinding. That’s when I thought: “Actually, maybe I can do something with this.”
Once I had settled into my first competitive team, the love of the game just started pouring in.
I played for a year and a half in the Challenger series, with both the Copenhagen Wolves and Huma – I didn’t qualify with either.
After that, I went to Korea to bootcamp for three months, before I went to Schalke 04 and finally qualified to the LCS.
League of Legends is something I love and giving up was never an option. I ask myself the same question now that I did then: How can I get better as a player?
Sometimes the answer to that question requires you to take risks.
The best example of that is my time in the mid lane. I was already competing in the LCS with H2K Gaming, but I knew that the only way I could get better as a player was by starting over, this time in the jungle.
Unlike with school, this time I didn’t mind going back to the beginning. If you’re doing something you love, that passion drives you. If you’re waking up not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, you need to change something.
I still had to grind to get to where I am now, but I was motivated.
Looking at Excel, everyone has had to start over at some point, and now, everyone on the team is a leader and we are doing better as a team by the day.
Today, I feel extremely calm and comfortable with where I am; I’ve reached a point where I’m excited about the future.
After having to start over, just three months down the line, I realised it was probably the best decision of my life.
Image Credit: Riot Games