Career Watch: eSports Athlete
Professional video gamer, Grubby has skills that pay the bills, literally because playing StarCraft II is how he makes an honest living. Don't knock his hustle. Like Biggie Smalls said, UPS is hiring.
Finding the perfect job is kind of like finding a quadruple rainbow. Usually you just won’t, are bat shit crazy, or you could be one of the luckiest individuals on the face of the Earth. I feel this way about Grubby, the professional StarCraft II player straight out of the Netherlands who plays video games for a living. On the surface, the job of 26-year-old Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen is a cake walk. Wrong. It’s deeper than high scores that match his bankroll. Meet the man who is already considered a legend in the game. Wizards, bow down.
Grubby: There’s a lot of debate about whether an individual is considered a Pro Gamer or not, the term is used quite loosely by some people. Sometimes it’s used to describe a gamer that is merely competitive. To be a pro gamer you need either salary, endorsement, or prize money, to earn enough to make a living for yourself. I personally find the financial aspect of Pro Gaming to be less important. Moreover, it is a kind of justification towards society for me to be able to play games. If you just play games and you don’t earn anything, you are a gamer. And in this day and age, almost everyone is a gamer, but I just mean, once I started earning, it was the perfect excuse for me to keep doing what I do, what I love so much. For me it’s not even “work.” I’m pretty much always in the mood for it. The trick is to find balance in order to do other things as well. In fact, I’ve been a gamer my whole life, I’ve been playing games since I was four, so even though the job didn’t exist yet, I feel like I was almost destined to end up with something like this.
Those in my line of work like to define themselves as “Electronic Sports Athletes.” Traditionally the word athlete is used to describe an immense performance in the physical area, but I think that physical and mental should take equal footing when evaluating performances of people. When you look at pro gaming, it may not be about lifting the heaviest weights, but the mental aspect is overwhelmingly deep and intense. There’s also a physical aspect in the sense of agility of the hands, hand-eye coordination, and speed. The term “eSports” athlete was coined in order to give proper value to something which is so challenging, and so competitive, it would be too weak to just use the term “gamer.” And things definitely get pretty competitive. Mostly it isn’t wise for players to generate too much animosity since you meet all the time. Things stay fairly pleasant even if we’re highly competitive when meeting on the battlefield. But that’s just with my scene. There are competitive fighting game scenes, or the shooter scenes. We’re StarCraft II, its kind of the gentleman’s eSport, like Chess.
Moving forward, looking at this industry, I think that in 50 years, eSports as entertainment for people around the world will be among the top five. It will become one of the biggest sports ever, and it’s only a matter of time. If not 50 years then 100 years. I feel it’s inevitable, simply because of our shift towards a much more technologically based entertainment standard.
Watch Grubby commentate the competetion in Spring Arena 1 at 2PM EST today, streaming live here.