Stefano “Verbo” Disalvo, center, now plays for the LA Valiant in Overwatch League… despite his parents’ reservations (image via Immortals)
Pro gaming has yet to become normalised enough for the parents of America to feel proud of their offspring for pursuing it professionally. At least, not until those children defy all expectations and start making hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournament winnings. Parents of pro gamers told the Wall Street Journal all the tactics they tried to get their kids to stop playing so many video games, and it’s an impressive list.
Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham, pro League of Legends jungler, had to contend with his father unplugging his PC from the wall and, failing that, unplugging the ethernet cable. The League pro’s dad admits that he now has some grudging respect for his son: “He makes more than me.”
The father of Dota 2 pro Peter “ppd” Dager went a step further than Akaadian’s dad, going so far as to crack open his son’s computer and remove hardware in order to stop the incessant gaming. The elder Dager had hoped to raise a jock: “If he was going out kicking field goals as much as he was playing video games, it wouldn’t have been a problem,” making him the first dad to want his son to be a meathead kicker.
Stefano “Verbo” Disalvo, Overwatch support player for the LA Valiant, had to contend with public humiliation. His mum dangled his underwear behind him during a live gaming stream in a misguided attempt to stop her son’s journey towards professional nerdery.
The craftiest rule breaker in the bunch, Call of Duty pro Cuyler “Huke” Garland, thwarted his father’s plan to take the Xbox away by storing a second secret Xbox in a closet. (Where this second Xbox came from, the Journal does not report.)
Whenever Huke said he had to stay home sick from school, his dad would take the Xbox with him to work. After discovering his son’s crafty plan, Huke’s dad took two Xboxes to work. The frazzled patriarch still seems dismayed at what he endured: “There was no direction, no help for this.”
One can hardly blame these parents for their scepticism: pro gaming still isn’t a stable career path. Their kids reflect a lucky and stubborn few. But, more importantly, any parent who wants to stop their child from becoming a pro gamer needs to come up with better tactics than these ones.
They didn’t stop this generation from becoming wealthy esports stars, but if we all work together, we can prevent the next one.