The first time I met Counter-Strike was in a cyber cafe with my brothers in 2003.
I think there were six…maybe eight computers in total. It wasn’t a glamorous facility or a stadium with lights and a stage. But it had Counter-Strike.
Since that day, I have never spent more than two weeks away from the game. I fell in love with it immediately, and it’s the passion of my life.
Of course, at that time it wasn’t possible for many people to play CS for a living.
I grew up in a very technological environment because my mom and dad had a computer store so since the beginning of my life I have been immersed in computers.
When I was old enough, my job was to help them take care of the computers in their business. That was at the same time as I was going to school. The goal at the time was to study engineering at University, but I put that aside in 2009 to go professional in CS.
In the early 2000s, every city had many cyber cafes, and people would move between each of them to see which they liked best. These different locations naturally formed their own communities, and it was like a competition between those communities.
There was so much talent around, and by that time I had built a bit of a platform, so I wanted to help those who deserved it.
The idea to create Games Academy came to me in 2011. It was a mixture of wanting to give people an opportunity to learn about the professional environment, and to help sustain myself in the industry.
Without an income to keep myself going, I would have had to drop out of the scene and go down another path in life. Thankfully, the project did very well, and I was able to both sustain myself and help out a lot of up-and-coming players.
Before long, I was working on Games Academy basically full-time, and running a service for 2000 CS players.
While that project was succeeding, there were troubles in the competitive side of things.
With my team at the time, we had used all of the money we had to attend a tournament in Colorado.
At the same time, we were invited to the ESL One Katowice offline qualifier, a huge tournament.
We simply did not have the money to attend the qualifier.
As a team, we came up with the idea of streaming and seeing if the community could help us make it there.
All of the money from the streams would go to the travel for Katowice, along with all of the money from Games Academy, and we even said that we would stream our practice to try and get people to help.
The Brazillian community was the first to show up. Some people gave us a lot of money, and some just gave us a few cents, but we were grateful for anything at all, and we knew that people can only give what they can afford. Overall, it was the message of it that touched me.
Some companies reached out to help, but of course, the one that most people remember is Flusha. He wasn’t the only pro player to help us, but he donated a big portion of his winnings from a recent tournament.
His help when we needed it is something we will never forget.
Being able to live your dream is one of the most powerful feelings in the world, and for that, I owe my thanks to everyone that helped us. Whether you donated $100, $0.01, or even just helped to spread our message. Without that, I might not be where I am today.
When we finally reached the top of CS:GO in 2016 and Columbus, it was a surreal feeling. Everything had aligned perfectly, and it felt like we had repaid the faith that everyone had in us.
Before and after Columbus, many things happened in my career. I have played all the versions of Counter-Strike and had many ups-and-downs.
There are things that I’ve had to sacrifice. Friendships that I’ve had to strain. Failures that I’ve had to put behind me.
But there’s also been successes, victories, and bonds that will exist forever.
If I had quit after the first disappointment, then I wouldn’t be here at all. Everything that I have achieved so far has been 26 years in the making. A lot of those years filled with sadness, failure, and deceptions.
Now, I prefer to try and focus my mind on the bright side of things, while still making sure I have I can be critical about the things that I can improve on. Every failure is a chance to learn and grow. Another opportunity to rebuild, face reality in another way, and move towards the path I want to be on.
Many players in Brazil see me as an inspiration now for the things that I have achieved. It’s a big responsibility for me and something I am very proud of.
But really, the reason I am who I am is because of the Brazilian community that always kept supporting me.
This game is my life’s work. I have put in a lot of work and passion to get to this point, and I have no intention of slowing down.
All I want to do is continue spreading love and opportunities to the people down in Brazil, and in every part of the world.
Image Credit: BLAST Pro Series, MLG, & Games Academy
Sage Datuin assisted with the creation of this article