Shout-Out To Denmark

Martin Hansen
Why are there so many talented Danish League of Legends players? Who knows, life is different up north, maybe we are just Europe’s version of South Korea.

It’s been suggested that the youth in our country are a little bit spoilt compared to other nations and maybe there’s some truth in that, it’s fair to say that we have it all in Denmark… except for the weather.

During the winter season in Denmark, you spend most of your time indoors; we don’t have the weather to go out and play football, for example. It’s not like we don’t do any physical activities – Danes play a lot of sports – but we’re a wealthy country, so a lot of people have the alternative of computer games as well. Simply put, we have the resources, the time and the availability to put time into computer games.

A lot of teenagers tend to start playing on the computer. I would say it’s on the brink of being frowned upon, but I don’t think it’s any better or worse than in other European countries, where guys were allowed to play for an hour and then had to go and exercise for three. Sure, some families in Denmark enforce that, but generally, we are just way more relaxed.

Importantly, our education system allows us to take a break from our studies to focus on something extra-curricular, giving us the opportunity to explore career options that, in other countries, could result in you never securing a solid education.

In Denmark, there’s little risk in pursuing a career in esports, our society and education system is built for it. If you try and turn pro but it doesn’t work out, you can just go back to school and it’s not a problem; you’ve still got as good a chance as anybody at landing a top-tier job.

You don’t get branded for life for messing up in your studies, you can get away with not giving 100% at all times, so long as you step up when it matters. From what I understand, in Asian nations like China or South Korea, if you mess up your early school years, you have a really hard time progressing further than that.

Education systems are different in every country, so for many, my path probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Basically, between the ages of 6 to 15, it’s just classed as elementary school and that’s where my education finished.

I had signed up for high-school – more specifically a gymnasium (or grammar school) – since I had actually been doing pretty well in school, despite being a bit lazy at times. I got so used to hearing: ‘we know you can do this, but you just won’t put in the time and effort to do it’ and they were right; it’s not that I thought it was pointless, it just wasn’t my top priority.

I’m sure everyone has done that at some point in their lives – prioritising something they enjoy over school or work. Back in the days before I even really played competitively, even before I played at a decently high elo, I was still playing a lot of League of Legends just for fun.

The Danish community was really big back then, far more so than it is now; people talked about the game constantly – mostly using Danish ‘Memespeak’ – and were making teams left and right. Mostly, I just played with my cousin, but through him, I was later introduced to Sencux.

The gymnasium I’d signed up for was well-regarded and had a strict schedule, meaning I’d be in school from 8-4 every day. I jumped away from that, opting for a pseudo-gap year – it’s technically marked as an extra elementary year that counts towards your gymnasium, so when I go back, instead of doing three gymnasium years, I will only need to do two as part of a special course.

Doing that meant that I only went to school for four hours every day, giving me a lot of free time to practice and pursue a professional career in esports.

As I climbed the ladder, I played with people like P1noy – who was known as ‘Krislund’ at the time – before later making friends with Kobbe and Nisbeth. Loads of the guys now playing in the LCS started out in the same Danish LANs that I did, I remember both Zven and Trashy (now Kold) hanging around the Danish scene, playing for various teams.

Those were good old times and are the reason I go so far back with the likes of Sencux and Kobbe, even before the whole Dignitas EU thing happened.

The first ‘semi-serious’ team I played for was 4everzenzyg and admittedly, we were all really bad. We played in the EU Challenger Series – which had Phreak and Zirene as shoutcasters back then – but we definitely weren’t really top-tier contenders. At the very least we got to play against the best Challenger teams and were all, individually, highly-rated solo queue players.

Over the following two years, I learned and progressed a lot. I qualified to the EU LCS when I was 16, turning 17 by the time the Spring Split started. That period – between the ages of 16, 17 and 18 – was very important to me, it felt like I was growing up and maturing alongside my teammates, it was a lot of fun.

I’ve no doubt that the decision to leave Splyce when I did was the correct one, we had become stuck as a team and as individuals progressing together and I knew I could learn a lot more by moving to G2 Esports. Shout-out to all the new fans I’ve gained and to the old ones who have stuck with me throughout.

Collectively, we had hit a wall and it was time to move on, but none of us left on bad terms, it was the best decision for all of us. We enjoyed a lot of success – more success than failure – and learned a lot together; I’ll cherish the moments that we had together.

I’m still really good friends with all of the Splyce guys and continue to wish them the best of luck… with the exception of when they play against me, of course.

I really hope that all of us can make it back to Copenhagen and meet-up for the finals. I know they’re all good players and they’re all hard workers; every one of us is capable of making an impact on the EU LCS with our new teams.

Shout-out to all the Danish boys I hung out with and played with along the way and shout-out to Denmark; none of us are anywhere near being finished yet.

Image Credit: Riot Games & Team Dignitas

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