I became a Starcraft 2 progamer right when the game came out in 2010. I was one of the very best foreign players in Starcraft: Brood War and when I first started the transition to Starcraft 2 was really fun. I loved the game at first and even though I played Protoss in SCBW I switched to Terran in SC2 because I thought it was by far the most challenging and fun to play. After doing well in online cups I was contacted by the professional team Meet Your Makers and once they proposed me and Naniwa to both move and live together in Germany to play the local tournament (ESL Pro Series) we both agreed instantly knowing that was the start of a new adventure. Since then we've played many tournaments together and had a lot of fun, even though he snores like a truck and I had an hard time going rested to any of them.
After a while Naniwa got kicked out of EPS and had to leave Germany, and suddenly I was alone. It was going to be hard staying in a foreign country doing such an unstable and alienating job but I knew it could become one of my most important life experiences and I decided to keep going.
My stay in MYM had its up and downs. My results were ok but not great, I won a good amount of money overall under their flag but at the same time I didn't make any major international breakout. My mental condition was not the best at the time since I came from years of major depression (which I explained in this post) and I had a really hard time finding motivation to practice at all or appreciate the game. At the time the most successful players were very gimmickish and relied way too much on brainless all ins and I refused to play that way. I was way too stubborn for my own good and this made me learn afterwards that no matter how much you think you are right, at some point the right decision is just to adapt and go with the flow.
I went to many tournaments in many different countries, and while my living conditions were far worse from what I had in Italy I was so happy to compete and meet my online friends. I had the chance to know for the first time some of the most interesting people I've ever met and whenever I lost in a tournament I could feel how much more I wanted from myself as a player. The fact that whenever I won something I was so incredibly happy and whenever I lost I had a feeling of a thousand suns burning in my stomach made me feel like I was alive for the first time, and even though I didn't like the game at all I kept playing for this sole reason.
After a while I met Take and we got along pretty well. He was the manager of Team Alternate and when my old contract expired he got me a nice deal to join them. I wasn't doing well in EPS but I got a really nice placement in ESWC 2011 after beating Thorzain in the ro16 and losing to Stephano in the ro8 on stage. At that time Terran was already struggling a lot and when the Queen patch came out I basically stopped doing any result whatsoever. The game became just too difficult and even though I practiced harder and harder winning against Zerg consistently seemed impossible and in fact I don't think I won a single bo3 against a known Zerg after that. Players that were average at most suddenly became top progamers and this was very painful to see, especially because Blizzard failed to realize the mistake they had done and never changed it back to how it was. This however made me work really hard to get some results and even when I failed I learned to be happy as long as I knew I gave my best. One thing that I really appreciated is that Take always gave me his full trust and support. Maybe they were only words but it was very important to me and made me realize that trusting and encouraging the people around you can be one of the best things a person can do, and I'm extremely grateful to him for this. In my last period I lived in Germany I also had the chance to live with Monchi, who moved there to play EPS and work together with Take. He is a great guy and a great player and I learned to be a lot more positive from him.
I did much better in the last tournaments I played due to my new training and mindset (with the exception of Homestorycup) and I finally felt I was going in the right direction. Eventually I would leave Germany and my team but I was satisfied with my personal growth and while many people say my career as progamer wasn't successful I couldn't disagree more.
To me the whole progamer thing is not about winning money and be famous. It's about following your own dreams without any certainty and fighting every day to change yourself so you can experience better results in every aspect of your life. It means realizing what's truly important and who you want to be, even when everybody points their angry fingers and judge you for your choices, trying to make you feel you are doing something wrong. It means forcing yourself to find a way to be happy with your life and more resolute in what you do. It means sharing your dream with your friends and be happy or sad with them. Some of the bonds I've made in the past 2 years will last forever and no person will ever be able to dent my inner confidence again. I've gotten something so important in the past 2 years that no amount of money would ever have been able to buy me. And if this is not being successful in what you do then I sure don't know what it is. I'm so happy I choose to be a progamer, it made me become proud of myself, and even though I am still far from being the person I want to be now I know that I can find my mistakes and fix them, learn by every experience and get better every day.
I will keep playing and getting better at Starcraft and at life. I am now in Italy without team but I'm not worried a single bit about the future. This is what I want to do and this is what I will keep doing. I will change to Protoss in HotS and I will work hard to have my big winning experience on stage, which is something I truly want to experience at least once. I know I have what it takes to stand out as a player and I will do my absolute best to make it happen.
This is pretty much the summary of my progaming experience. I would also love to share other things I learned, which can be very useful and interesting. Here are some of them in a random order:
- People change when they become famous, often for the worse, up to the point you don't recognize them anymore;
- progamers have a bad sense of fashion;
- being a Starcraft 2 progamer makes you able to handle stress better than anything else;
- You Only Live Once, if you want to do something you better start doing it right now;
- some of the very best players have extremely egocentric, socially unstable personalities;
- most progamers are actors in front of people, they will act nice, helpful and politically correct in public and once they are in a private environment they will be selfish, unapologetic and arrogant. By contrast, some of the nicest people in the scene are barely known and recognized by fans;
- the more twitter followers, the more groupies;
- I secretly wish I was a girl so I could have Flash's babies;
- progamers' and casters' ego are directly proportional to the amount of fans they have;
- no matter what you do, somebody will hate, and their opinion will be meaningless. Receiving real constructive feedback is rare and treasuring it is necessary in succeeding in your short and long term goals;
- confidence is the most important trait for anything a person can do;
- selfish people are better at faking a nice personality. This happens because otherwise people would never accept them for who they are;
- the best players don't necessarily produce the best results;
- people would do anything to feel important, they can produce the greatest but even the stupidest things as long as they feel they can stand out from the mass, and if they can't they will rather hate somebody to get attention quickly or give more importance and meaning to what they do and say. This applies to every single person.
I actually have a lot more to say and I left out many things but I'm really tired. If I missed out something you want to know and you have any question or you want to know your favorite progamer or caster better through my perspective you can freely ask me in the comments of this thread. I will be more than happy to answer.