Over the past few years, I have been a number of things : An eSports fan, event makeup artist, talent manager, event organizer/producer, and most recently, team owner.
Nearly one year ago, Jae Won (CranK) and I founded Axiom. Our dream was to create a team that would have slow growth, yet recruit players who were passionate about enhancing their career as Starcraft 2 professionals. If we want to look at all that Axiom has accomplished, most would look to the player's results on Liquipedia, others would take note of the $50,000 in winnings our guys have managed to secure for themselves in under a year in addition to their stable salaries. I prefer to look at how they have grown as young men.
When I first met CranK, our ability to communicate with each other was a challenge. He definitely had a good grasp of English, (which is better than a lot of us could ever hope to achieve in Korean) but compared to now, it is night and day. Today he is capable of translating posts, interpreting for others and rarely has to reach for an English to Korean dictionary. He really worked hard to improve his skills so he could connect with his fans and that is just one of the things I am so proud of him for. Over the past twelve months, I have seen CranK's confidence grow in leaps and bounds. He hasn't just managed to captain and coach a successful team, but a stellar GSTL team in AxiomAcer. CranK and I have gone through challenging times together, but no matter what was going on personally or professionally, we took it on together. Jae Won will always be more to me than a pro player and I am grateful for the day that Reddit brought the two of us together.
Creating Axiom allowed me to meet so many wonderful people.
Miya brought so much joy to the Axiom house. His retirement has left a void that to this day has yet to be filled. I'm certain that a personality like Miya's can never be replaced.
Ryung, who will forever be my second son with his competitive arcade battles with my 10 year old, Orion. His cute regional accent always giving me so many smiles that brightened even the worst days. His accomplishments since joining Axiom are numerous and I couldn't be prouder of him.
Alicia disappeared from the scene for months after concluding that no team wanted to hire him, then asked to join Axiom even without a salary (we forced him into taking one) just so he could play the game he loves. This is the same guy who took 2nd place in several NA events last year and is still reaching amazing heights in his career in WCS NA and the WCS Global Finals. His passion is one that I am truly inspired by.
Heart seems to have it all. He trains hard, has a great sense of humor and is one of the few players I know who can manage to have a girlfriend and still remain competitive. He really is the whole package and even though his transition from WoL to HotS has been a bumpy one, he has shown perserverence and a strength I wish others could learn from.
It is with deep regret and a severe sadness that I am announcing my retirement from Axiom. Over the past twelve months, I have done my best to give everything I could to my team and to the community. As I've stated before in a past blog, I understand that sometimes my best is not going to be good enough.
Regardless of how hard one might try, there are always going to be situations where we as humans lack foresight. At this very moment I have a certain Dennis Gehlen (Take) wishing legal action upon me for a blog post I wrote yesterday explaining what happened behind closed doors regarding Axiom's involvement with ATC.
[6:50:52 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: hey genna
[6:51:04 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: are you serious putting
[6:51:07 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: my private chats with you
[6:51:09 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: online
[6:51:15 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: where i talk about acers
[6:51:16 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: decisions?
[6:51:23 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: which never have to be public?
[6:51:25 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: this is crazy
[6:51:33 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: actually i hope that by law
[6:51:40 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: this is something you can get punnished for?
[6:51:49 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: i guess if acer gonna read this they will get mad
[6:51:54 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: that you posted it online
[6:51:55 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: 10 times
[6:52:02 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: more than u can ever imagine
[6:52:14 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: cause there you let acer look very bad
[6:52:19 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: wow
[6:52:27 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: i didnt even see it when i saw ur post
[6:52:37 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: i just read some but someone from my team has shown me this part
[6:52:41 AM] Dennis.Gehlen: of our private conversation
This is what happens behind closed doors I guess. I understand that maybe some people in eSports are uncomfortable with my unorthodox methods of lifting the veil, but what exactly is there to hide? Aside from the fact that Dennis is paying in part for Team Liquid to come to the ATC finals, I don't see any particularly sensitive information. Sure, they asked the sponsor for more funds to help with travel, is that a bad thing? I made mention that Acer had a contract with TakeTV for a set amount to fund ATC, seems pretty standard to me... Anyway, I guess TIL that if people post chat logs even in an attempt to make you look good in a bad situation, it shouldn't be done and I should just be sued and/or arrested.
As with anything, there is a light and a dark side to eSports. Do not forget that there are players who are having their salaries cut (even though they are under contract), contracts being augmented without warning, organizations being bullied by others and forced into financial instability. Yet, there are the amazing success stories, the supportive fans and great people working towards making this community a better place. I'd ask you to evaluate which side of the coin you belong to and survey the impact it has on the scene around you.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during my time as a team owner, as well as those who supported me in all of my eSports endeavors. I'd like to extend some particular thanks to the following individuals (in no particular order). It is without a doubt in a community with so many wonderful people, I will forget to thank someone. Please know that I will continue to cherish all of you.
John Bain, Olivia Wong, Jae Won Choi, Joon Sik Yang, Min Hyuk Kim, Dong Won Kim, Seong Won Mun, Yun Sik Choi, Susie Kim, Cristian Baltoc, Scott Smith, Marcus Graham, Rod Breslau, Geneviève Forget, Manuel Schenkhuizen, Tricia Sugita, Cristian Tamaş, Ben Nichol, Sundance DiGiovanni, Ilyes Satouri, Sue Lee, Jason Lake, Kevin Knocke, JP McDaniel, Jana Otahalova, Marcus Eklöf, John Sargent, Alex Rodriguez, Brandon Qual, Sophie Jung, Jonathan Belke, Adam Contini, Greg Fields, Andrew Christoforou, Anna Prosser Robinson, Mark Ferraz, Tara Babcock, Adam Apicella, Joshua Gray, Brandi Plemmons, Alexander Garfield, Cassandra Ng Schenkhuizen, Michael O'Dell, Justin Ignacio, David Ting, Shawn Simon, Ryan Thompson, Geoff Robinson, Josh Sutherland, Shaun Clark, Jos De Kroon, Mike Lamond, Uwe Semtner, Kevin van der Kooi, Chris Loranger, Helena Kristiansson, Marc Olivier, Samayan Kay, & Michael Van Driel.
I am leaving Axiom in the capable hands of my partner in business, and in life, John "TotalBiscuit" Bain. I am more than confident that he will take the team to new heights. I hope to see many of you at future events where I will be cheering Axiom on from within the crowd. Thank you all for the adventure. GLHF