A lot of pro-gamers don't have much experience outside of gaming. Brandon explains:
"When I was first starting, my life revolved around the game. I'd wake up to it, sleep to it, go to school thinking about it, use the computer labs to look up random facts. I'd practice as much as I could. I would still do my school work, but I'd have this urge to play really bad."
"Your comparison of Jane Eyre and Sarah Kerrigan, Queen Of Blades was baffling yet oddly convincing."
Throw in the fact that outside of tournaments a pro-gamer's schedule is more flexible than your cat's, and you can quickly find your life going to some strange places.
"I find myself having a hard time just keeping a normal sleep schedule. I haven't had an actual 8 to 5 job for three, four years. Right now my schedule's pretty bad; I've been going to bed at 4 a.m. every day, waking up at 11 to 1. Some people really like that schedule; I personally don't. It's really hard to set back a schedule when you're sitting in front of a computer all the time."
When you have Froot Loops at 3:30 a.m., does it count as breakfast or supper?
It gets worse when you're on a high-level team that lives and trains together. Here's a profile of a top League Of Legends team that reads like it's set in a dystopian version of a frat house. They train together 12 hours a day, then have to share bedrooms. We don't care how much you like your co-workers -- sooner or later you're going to get on each other's nerves, especially if you're mired in the middle of a losing streak.
Brandon finds that outsiders significantly underestimate the stress that can come with gaming professionally. We're not saying it's like performing heart surgery, but it's not vegging out in front of the computer all day either.
"It can be extremely stressful. You never know how well you're going to do. The battle to get to where you are is tough. And then you might find out four, five, six years down the road that you don't enjoy it anymore, and then you realize that, oh shit, I don't even have an education. There are so many risks you have to take. It's always good to find an alternative path. Taking two or three classes a semester is a good idea if you're doing something as straining as e-sports."
Rob Stothard/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Because, hey, what's a couple more hours on the computer studying at that point?
If you ask pro gamers what they plan to do when they retire, their response is often just a shrug. Some, like Brandon and Jesse, have an education. Others will look to get into coaching or management. But with e-sports still in its infancy, we won't really know what a generation of pro-gamers retiring will look like until it happens. Until then, Brandon and Jesse both love their job, and they're very glad that they have the opportunity to do it, but make no mistake -- it is a job. Albeit the one with the best possible fringe benefit: the ability to go to work sans pants.
You can check out Jesse's Twitch stream here and Brandon's here. Jesse plays for Team Ascension, while Brandon represents Flipsid3 Tactics. You can read more from Mark at his website.
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