I’m Coming Up

I was born in Italy. I knew how to speak Italian, so it was easier, but I would have preferred to grow up in China.

I was different from the other kids around me. Of course, that lead to me getting bullied. To them, I wasn’t Italian, I was Chinese – there was some racism in my childhood.

There weren’t many others like me in my school, and being “alone” like that makes you an easier target.

I escaped the problems by playing video games every day. Rather than meeting up with other kids and playing together, I mostly isolated myself.

When I played video games, no one really knew me or knew what I looked like. No one could target me personally, and if I was playing online, my ability was what mattered most. That’s what made me enjoy gaming, and that’s why I kept playing.

At the start it was mostly JRPGs like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Pokemon, and Monster Hunter – Those games defined my childhood.

When my family got a computer at home I switched over to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I wasn’t quite as good as I am at League of Legends now, but I’m not a bad CS:GO player if I’m being honest. I still play a game or two nowadays when I get the time too.

While I was grinding Counter-Strike, my brother got me to try League of Legends, and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked.

My brother used to be better than me, but he favoured studies over chasing the professional gaming dream. Come to think of it, he wasn’t really interested in the latter at all.

But I was.

In Season 5, we both played together; I reached Diamond 2, and he got Diamond 1. We pushed ourselves well and progressed. Eventually, I wanted to chase the pro dream, and I decided to leave school.

My parents weren’t for it at first; they worried that what I was doing was useless, and that it wouldn’t get me anywhere. However, that gave me the added extra fuel: I wanted to prove them that I could earn a living by playing video games.

After all, I was watching people do just that: in Season 4, Samsung White inspired me so much. Watching them win the World Championship made me want to be there one day, to play in front of that crowd.

And I still remember looking at inSec’s highlights on Lee Sin, trying to replicate that. Although I know how much DanDy was carrying games 1v9 at the time, I still preferred inSec for his mechanical ability.

It felt epic doing the inSec kick the first time, like “oh my god!” especially since I was wondering how a player could possibly do it — and I managed to do it with 30fps, which was even harder.

Right, speaking of my framerate, I was playing on a 10-year-old computer at Plat level. As soon as we bought a newer PC, I climbed instantly to Diamond, then to Challenger the year after, in Season 6.

Eventually, a serious team in Italy called ‘Outplayed’ took notice, and they added me in their roster. They’re the only Italian team to make it to Top 8 in EU Masters, which is really not bad.

During my time there, I got to play with Orome, my current teammate on MAD Lions. I still remember how he 1v9’d every scrim during his tryout stage, and how I thought that he had to be on our team.

But back in my days there, we were always the second-place team in Italy. Although I won the last tournament I played with them — the Lega Prima 2018 –, I will still remember how badly I choked on stage at the PG Nationals 2018 spring finals. That tournament was the important one since it qualified a team to EU Masters.

My hands were shaking, and I was second-guessing myself – what if I mess up in front of the crowd?

And I messed up a lot. As the series went on, I started being scared of doing anything stupid, it was as if I was paralyzed the whole series.

I have become better at that with experience, at least I hope so. Four years of professional play should be enough to get comfortable on stage.

After playing on Outplayed, I played online for Mousesports. This time, another one of my current teammates, the old Gistick (now Kaiser), was there in the bot lane. We reached EU Masters, but lost to Carzzy’s team, BIG, after doing nothing and getting rolled over.

Going into that tournament with the mentality that we were the best in Europe outside of the LEC didn’t help our chances. Still, we were extremely disappointed after that loss. But by then, I had already proven that I could make money off gaming.

Joining the LEC was even better, especially when it came to my parents.

I always knew that they loved me and wanted the best for me, but my signing with MAD Lions caused them to express that more. They have been watching all my games since, and they have been learning the game as well.

It feels kind of weird because they didn’t support me before I joined Mousesports. They had wanted me to give up and return to school, but I pursued my dreams, with MAD Lions, and with some mad lads – especially Carzzy, he’s crazy!

As it happened, Peter Dun had scouted me in solo queue, and Orome suggested me when Peter asked him about potential jungle hires. We’re having a lot of fun together, and I feel that we will be very good.

It’s crazy how I wasn’t thinking of the LEC a few months ago. Neither Kaiser nor I were thinking of getting there. Maybe we underrated ourselves at the time.

And after finishing third in the Spring playoffs, who knows how much more we can get out of this season.

Image Credit: Riot Games

Adel Chouadria assisted in the creation of this article.

Start the discussion

to comment