esports, Gaming

My Next Adventure

In two weeks, I will no longer be the social media coordinator for the Boston Uprising.

One week ago, that’s not a sentence I fathomed I’d be writing until at least after the end of the 2021 Overwatch League season. But on Friday, I saw a job posting that was simply too perfect to pass up. I would have been crazy not to apply.

Esports? Check. Social media? Check. Back home in Ohio so I can be closer to my family, friends and girlfriend? Now you’ve really got my attention.

So while I’m heartbroken to be leaving the Uprising so soon, I’m also ecstatic to begin the next step of my career as the digital and social media manager for Esports Engine, an incredible esports event production company in Columbus, Ohio, founded by many of the same people who made MLG a household name over the previous two decades. I can’t wait to start working alongside esports GOATs, creating live events across titles.

Esports Engine was a company I kept an eye on from its inception, and I got a taste of what they could do at the New York Excelsior homestand in February 2020. Anyone who was there will tell you the atmosphere was electric. Yes, chalk some of that up to fans, but chalk some of it up to the people who make it happen. There are so many moving parts to live events – more than even I realize, I’m certain – and Esports Engine helped make NYXL’s homestand a smashing success. From then, I was sold. Now, I get to help with that in even some small way. Unreal.

This transition is the truest definition of bittersweet for me. I’ve put 110% into the Uprising over the past 1.5 seasons, and I hope that shows through what the content team and I have been able to accomplish. I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’ve done, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the team does this season. I know I’m biased, but I think the Uprising had one of the best social media presences in the OWL during the 2020 season, despite all the in-game losses. Since then, we’ve hands-down produced the best content of any Western team throughout the offseason.

Look at what other teams did, and look what we did. Some teams have gone nearly silent for months or relied primarily on fluff content. We hosted a wide variety of guests on a player-led interview series. We produced tutorial videos for players’ signature heroes. We published a feature series to show the process of building the 2021 Uprising roster. We showed the personality of every single new signing through interview articles and graphics about their favorite things. We are the only OWL team hosting a Reddit AMA series. We were the only team to go above and beyond for our 2021 schedule reveal, creating a parody video and a highly-produced livestream, both of which took weeks to plan. With or without me, 2021 is the year people will finally stop dunking on the Uprising. I’m beyond proud of everything we’ve done to reverse public opinion of the Uprising and to set the players up for newfound popularity this season.

I could gush profusely about how amazing this experience has been, but I’d never be able to do it justice. Just writing about it all gets me choked up. Every single day I drove to Gillette Stadium was another day I spent in disbelief that it was actually my office. I attended the 2020 Patriots season opener, a primetime Sunday Night Football game against my longtime favorite Pittsburgh Steelers (sorry) and watched the banner ceremony for the Patriots’ 2019 Super Bowl victory. That same season, I attended Tom Brady’s last game in a Patriots uniform, not even knowing the loss would become historic for such a reason. This month, I even wrote an article for the Patriots that the NFL retweeted to its more than 25 million fans. I still can’t believe it. I’ve been a football fan most of my life, so getting to dabble even a little in the NFL is surreal.

And who better to learn from than the team that capitalized on more success than any other NFL team in the last decade? The skills I learned here transcend sports or esports, and I’m so thankful the Kraft Group took a chance on me — a guy fresh out of college with no real-world experience and a crazy love for games and memes — to run the Uprising social media platforms.

Then came the rest of the team. After I joined, we built a rock solid content crew in Kerry, Kevin and John. I can’t say enough about them. All three are fantastic people in and out of work with great ideas and the skills to bring them to fruition. Their unique skills will only become more obvious this season, as conditions allow them to work more closely with the team than in 2020. I know I leave fans and the players in good hands, as these three will absolutely kill the content game this season. I’ll be watching for the content ideas we’ve cooked up.

On the other side of things, I’ve loved working with the Uprising coaching staff, managers and players. For guys like Fusions and Colourhex, I’ve watched them grow tremendously since 2019. I hope they find success this season as a payoff for their resilience. They deserve a championship and more. For the new 2021 additions, I’m sad I won’t get to know them better. Everyone seems so kind and dedicated to helping the Uprising win. HuK, Mineral and all the rest have built a true team this season. In a way I can’t succinctly explain, I feel in my gut that this team is poised for success this season. I just hope that they keep this same drive all year long. If they do, they’ll be such a fantastic team to follow in and out of game.

Again, I could go on for paragraphs with details about every person I work with and why they mean so much to me, but instead I’ll just say this. I’ve experienced four wins to 36 losses in my time here, but the people made every single week worth it. There were times when I found myself boomed, certainly, but having everyone around me made the past nearly two years absolutely worth it. If I could travel back in time with my current knowledge and the chance to join either the Shock or the Uprising, I’d still choose the Uprising without any hesitation.

See, a lot of things in life fail to meet expectations. A pizza that arrives lukewarm. A concert where the mixing is off. A hotel room without a microwave or a movie with a dud ending. And while factors completely out of my department’s control — a bad team record and a global pandemic — nixed some of my hopes, the job itself exceeded every single expectation. The Kraft Group gave me the opportunity to branch out of the 280-character confines of Twitter into PR, marketing, event planning, and so much more. I even helped design a spray that now exists in Overwatch forever. I mean, how cool is that? My work is literally cemented in the game I love most. 

And I’m writing this all not because I’m conceited enough to think that anyone should care about what I’ve done, but because writing down my thoughts helps me process the flurry of emotions I’m feeling. This is like a diary entry you all have access to, as I work through both the joy of moving back home while remaining in esports and the pain of leaving behind what I started without the opportunity to see it through. I think a part of me will always wish I could have stayed for “the glow up” I’m certain the Uprising will have this year. But that’s life, isn’t it? Tough decisions where years down the line, hopefully I’ll still think I made the right choice. I’m sure I’ll be able to celebrate vicariously through the Uprising social media in 2021.

Finally, to Uprising fans: I get to join you now! The weird part about working in the OWL is being so close to the action that you sometimes don’t get to enjoy it as a spectator. I’ll still be active in the community cheering on the team with you, and when live events return, you bet I’ll be requesting time off to attend the first homestand alongside you. 

In the meantime, take it easy on social media. I feel terrible about the added duties I leave behind for the content crew in the interim. While I’m going to do everything I can to make the transition seamless, I hope you’ll be patient, kind and supportive of them as they lay out the Uprising’s path for 2021 and take those first steps. Whether there’s a rough week or two or whether they never skip a beat, I must reiterate that I’m certain I leave you all in the best care, and I know 2021 will be the most exciting year to be an Uprising fan. Uprising content is a team effort. It always has been and always will be. My contributions don’t define the brand, and I know the team will pop off without me.

I think that’s enough scattered rambling for me. I’ve gotten the tears out by now, I think. The Boston Uprising will always hold a special place in my heart, and this role was truly the perfect position for me over the past nearly two years. Hopefully if you’ve read this far, you’ll keep up with whatever comes next for me at Esports Engine. I’m excited to get started and learn more about my first project. 

I hope you keep cheering hard for the Uprising. I know I absolutely will. And maybe with a little luck, I’ll see you around the next time Esports Engine produces an OWL homestand.

#BostonUp

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