If I didn’t completely break my foot playing football, I’m not sure if I would have ever even played League of Legends.
Like a few other players I know, I was into sports as a kid, and specifically, football. I think from age 5 to 14 I probably played every single day. That’s an exaggeration, but only slightly, honestly.
I know that everyone says it, but I really was pretty good. I wanted to be a professional football player.
The injury I got was pretty bad. I couldn’t walk for a long time and even when it started recovering, it would hurt if I walked for more than a few seconds.
If you get a lengthy injury at that age, you kind of get “left behind” by the other kids because you’re developing so much as an athlete and player during those years.
At around the same time, my friends started to play video games on the computers at school. Obviously, since I had nothing else to do, I joined them. League of Legends was one of the games we played a lot because it was free.
Eventually, most of them went back to playing football and playing less video games, but I didn’t really have that choice thanks to the injury, so I kept playing.
Just like football, I had the same mindset for League of Legends. I wanted to be as good as I could be on the game, and at the time I really had no idea what level that could be. For me, a lot of the fun is from the competition.
For that reason, the ranked queue was where most of my enjoyment came from. I just wanted to keep climbing the ladder as high as I possibly could.
It turned out that in my first season, that was Diamond V. Not bad.
In my second season, I went from Diamond V to Diamond 1 with some time in Master tier. Better.
At some point during my climb through ranked, the opportunity to return to football came up.
Obviously, this interested me. But as I said earlier, at this point I was too far behind the other kids to compete properly. I was no longer “the best that I could be”.
To be completely honest, I lost all the motivation I had to play the sport. After spending nine years of my life dedicated to training, I “hung up my boots” and concentrated my time into League of Legends, an activity I could still be the best at.
Jumping from solo queue to competitive play is quite a sudden jump. Even just playing in a minor tournament with your friends is another world compared to solo queue. When I was asked to join a team, I put on a confident face to hide the nerves.
“Attempted to Reconnect” was officially my first team in League of Legends. I was playing with three German guys and Maxi, who’s on Flyquest now. I knew Maxi because we were friends from solo queue, so he suggested signing me and in the summer of 2017, it fell into place.
We managed to reach the playoffs of ESL Meisterschaft – that’s the German regional league – and it was that event that really changed my perspective on things. Playing and winning matches on stage was addictive, and although we lost in the final, I made the plan to quit school and attempt to play competitively full-time.
I know there is a struggle that some people have faced with getting their parents to understand and accept esports, but it’s one that I never actually faced.
I told them that I had an offer from a team and that they wanted me to move into a gaming house. They thought I was joking at first, but then I showed them the contract I had from MAD Lions. They checked it, made sure it was legitimate, and let me go.
Everyone on that lineup was really good. As the new guy, it made me quite nervous, especially when competing against players that I respected.
I was afraid of what people would think about me if I failed, and I still think a lot about what they think of my play or how good I am.
It was frustrating to not be able to get over that mental block. It wasn’t really until I was settled on my next team, Movistar Riders, that I was able to get my nerves under control in every match. By the time EU Masters rolled around, I was fine.
During the 2018 off-season, I travelled to Korea to practice against the best players I could. It was a bit of a turning point for me because that’s what made me realize that I was good enough to play in the top league. The LEC.
That’s not to say I expected to join straight away. Even when I was approached by Excel, I thought perhaps I would spend some more time in the regional leagues before earning a spot in the LEC, but they put their faith in me.
My nerves did come back, for a little while. I wasn’t particularly worried this time since it’s natural after a step like that to have some nerves. By the third week, I was gaining my confidence back.
Unfortunately, our stage performance was not matching our scrim performance.
By the time we started fixing the problems we had on stage, it was too late to make a run for playoffs. Instead, we decided to experiment with our ten-man roster a little bit and pick up as many wins as we could.
Despite the poor season, I really am having a lot of fun. As I said, it’s competing that I enjoy the most, and competing isn’t always winning. Of course, I want people to see me as one of the best AD Carries in the league, not the 10th best.
Our season is over, and there’s nothing I can do about that perception right now.
But I’ll be back next split. There’s no stopping me.
Image Credit: Riot Games