On Top From Down Under

I grew up in a little place called Gisbourne, east coast of the North Island.

It is on the side of the world where you get to see the sun every day so that’s pretty cool.

The population is like 35 thousand so it is really small. There are beaches everywhere and it’s a chill place to grow up. A lot of people call it a trap because New Zealand is so nice that you never really want to ever leave.

I never really planned out where I wanted to live, and I didn’t really ever see myself leaving. That’s just the kind of person I am – just let things happen as they happen.

It just happened that I ended up moving in with a friend of mine in Perth when I had my first CS event in Sydney.

What was meant to be a short stay turned into a few months. Eventually, I moved back to New Zealand with my brother, but it wasn’t long before I was back in Australia, living in Sydney.

Those experiences away from home playing in CS tournaments are what lead to joining up with Grayhound.

Playing on that team was just a good experience all-round. I was mates with the owner and all the player on the team, we just got on really well. There was never any homesickness or anything like that.

At the time, Renegades was playing internationally all the time and living full-time in America. For that reason, we considered ourselves the best team in Australia.

it’s funny to say that now that I’m on Renegades, but that is how we felt at the time!

I learned a lot from Erkast and Dexter because they were just so experienced as players. Erkast had been playing since 1.6 and Dexter played on Winterfox in America.

Dexter used that to become the IGL and it all worked out really well. I really enjoyed playing with everybody on Grayhound. Very mature dude. 

So when I received the offer from Renegades…I was torn.

I was very much on the fence because I loved being a part of Grayhound. The entire atmosphere around the team, combined with being relatively close to home, made the decision to leave particularly tough.

There were two points in particular that made it difficult to leave.

First: leaving all of my mates. Like I said, they were all great guys and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Second: The comfort of being at the top of the Australian scene, with no real pressure to prove ourselves elsewhere.

I didn’t know any of the personalities on Renegades when I joined them. There was definitely a fear that we might not mesh together, as I had very little idea of how they functioned as a team.

There were no promises that this iteration of the Renegades lineup would succeed, and in a few months, I could be riding the bench.

Worst case scenario, I’d be flying out to live in a brand new country and could potentially be out of a job in three months if things didn’t go to plan.

So I needed quite a bit of convincing.

That was when Erkast came up to me and told me to take the offer. He told me as a teammate and a friend that he wanted to see me succeed as a player.

After that, all the guys basically told me the same thing.

“Take the offer”

Once I had their blessing and their support there was really no excuse not to go for it.

As I spent time adjusting to Renegades, a lot of those initial fears began to fade away. I loved all of my teammates, and we all got along together very well.

And we became the first oceanic team to get top eight status at the major. I have no complaints.

Even life in America does not feel very different from Australia. We just sit at home and play CS all day. In the evening we’ll go grab some food together, then repeat the whole process the following day. 

On top of that, I’m still around a bunch of Australian guys, so living away from home really isn’t as scary as I once thought.

The gameplay side of things hasn’t been quite as easy. I love this team, but we are not playing as well as we know we’re capable of.

Every team has flaws of course, and we definitely acquired a lot of rust. The VISA issues certainly caused us to fall behind a little.

All we can really do is just work to go forward instead of thinking about what’s been and done.

At the end of the day, Renegades is definitely a step up from Grayhound in many aspects. We just need to work on the issues. I can’t hate on it at all, I’m just grateful for the opportunity.

It’s going to take some time again, but I honestly think if we all work hard we can easily make it to the top five and maybe even top three in the world.

I know it sounds ambitious, but we have the talent for it.

If we can make Legend status, who’s to say we can’t go even further as a team?

Image Credit – DreamHack & Renegades

Sage Datuin assisted in the creation of this article

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