Playing Cards in School #1: Rizen's Introduction into the Kyoto eSports Academy11 months ago
Playing Cards in School #1
By Eric “Rizen” Lynch
Wayne Gretzky once famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So as I filled in the boxes on Kyoto’s Academy Program application I didn’t realistically expect much would come of it, but given my aspirations to become a successful competitive Hearthstone player, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to take a chance and see what happens. Worst case scenario was that it would be 5-10 minutes that I wasn’t going down some random Facebook/Twitter rabbit hole. Hopefully, it would be one giant step closer to my goal.
Since you’re reading this, obviously I was fortunate enough to get accepted into the program. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first, but as things were starting to ramp up, Kyoto’s very own Seohyun was coming off a second-place finish at DreamHack Montreal and I couldn’t have felt better about my position. Access to world-class HearthStone minds is something all aspiring competitive players want, and here it was, sitting right in front of me!
Practices started in earnest the last couple of weeks, and BloodHunter (who is heading up the Academy Program) has been a really great resource. I’ve already seen tremendous improvements in my game, hitting legend for the first time last month and winning my first open event. That’s not to brag about my accomplishments in the game. To the contrary, that’s to speak to the resources around me and the help they’ve been.
I spoke with BloodHunter briefly after one of our sessions about the program so far, and how it was measuring up versus his expectations and I found the answer both surprising and telling. The first thing he commented about was that the group had a lot of diverse personalities but that everyone was super positive and willing to learn.
That stuck out to me because it would have been really easy to just say something along the lines of “well we’ve got some really good players, I see a lot of potential here.” Now he did go on to mention that he does see a lot of talent, but the foremost focus was on the motivation which I felt was really positive.
One of the most common comments I received upon the announcement of being a part of the Academy Program is one I hear echoed among amateur players “why would anyone need to be a part of a team in a game where you compete as individuals?” It’s a fair point, but there’s a reason that most top athletes (eSports or otherwise) have teams around them. Iron sharpens iron, and I’m looking forward to seeing my growth as a player in the coming months and having the opportunity to share it with all of you. I’m extremely glad I took my shot and would encourage the rest of you to do so when the Academy Program opens up to applicants again.
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