It’s 2019, a new year, a new outlook and a time for us to shout about what we believe in. In 2018, a few things happened, sure. Gfinity reached out to us to ask them to write some content for them, so we thought about what we wanted to talk about. The perception of women in eSports.
Enter Sammy, a powerhouse of the Rocket League scene. You might know this name, you might not but it’s undeniable what Sammy does for the community. We’re big fans and thought you might want to know why. We cover a lot of ground, it’s probably a 10 minute read, so grab a drink and get comfortable.
Who is Sammy?
“Well, I am Samantha, mostly known as Sammy. I am a 25 years old girl from the Netherlands and been playing PC games for like 2,5/3 years now. I had an ex boyfriend that was into PC gaming and he kinda got me into it as well, it started with League of Legends. I met a group of Dutch people, we started playing LoL together and then moved to other games as well. One of those games was Rocket League. I immediately enjoyed RL and became better and better at the game.”
When we stream and talk to people, we find a lot of people finding it difficult to meet teammates. That’s actually the reason why Volution was created. Of course, platforms like GamerLink and Gfinity help but there are many other ways to find a team.
“I found Volution through Gfinity when Arrow contacted me for this interview. That’s where I found Funk and T-Jay and it’s now where I play RL competitively.”
This isn’t the first time that Sammy has played competitively though. Gfinity’s approach to gaming gives the underdog a great chance to get into professional teams. What makes it so attractive as a platform?
“Gfinity tournaments are great practice, against real pros. In my first tournament I played against Mout, Kaydop and Fairy Peak. We got rekt, I mean I am only a Champ 2 myself. But Gfinity is one of the biggest and well known tournament organisers.”
Forging her own path.
Having been part of Gfinity competitions and having been on the inside of gaming communities Sammy, knew that she could make her own luck, seeing an opportunity to create another gaming community. Sammy started to join Rocket League organisations to help out with their tournaments and make a name for herself within the community, in the hope to somedy find a full time job within eSports.
“A few weeks after I joined Boost Legacy as their PR, this is a NA community which made it hard for me to maintain activity. I also got picked up by a PUBG organisation and I basically grew that community from scrap, started running PUBG tournaments and grew myself a tournament team that I had to lead.
My streaming got more serious too and I started to join a stream team, Sensei Esports. When I joined, I had some pointers that the community could work on. I told them my thoughts and they asked me to help with the community.”
Work, no matter where you are, is still work. Most organisations have hierarchies and managers, moderators and helpers. Just because an organisation doesn’t have a physical place of work doesn’t mean that you can not look after the people who help you out, often on a voluntary basis.
“I had put a lot of time in that PUBG organisation and I didn’t get anything in return for it, not even a thank you or some recognition. After some time it started to annoy me and I left that organisation and applied to be a tournament admin for GLL. One of the biggest PUBG tournament organisers around. Since April I got accepted there and been running PUBG tournaments.”
Working digitally does have some benefits though. You can be in many places in once and if you have transferable skills, why not join other communities? If you’re good at what you do and you know the right people, the opportunities are there for you.
“In May I applied to be a tournament moderator for Rewind Gaming, my application was accepted and since then I have been running tournaments with them. We had some really big tournaments there sponsored by Psyonix themselves. Last September I got “promoted” to be the Moderator Supervisor and on the 1st of January this year I got promoted to Operator, basically the head of all the moderators. Through a moderator in Rewind Gaming I got into Rocket League Hub as a tournament organiser. Soon I grew to be one of the admins there, but due to some differences, I decided to apply at Gfinity. And now, since August 2018 I left I’ve been Online Support Admin for Gfinity.
At the moment I currently volunteer for: Rewind Gaming (Head of Moderation), Sensei Esports (Social Media Manager), Corax Gaming (Rocket League Manager), Volution (Community Director) and Gfinity (Online Support Admin).”
Life within eSports.
At Volution, we know that staff members need to balance life commitments with their voluntary commitments. Jobs, children, partners, hobbies, relationships, all of these can suffer if you don’t manage your time and your headspace. Some sacrifices do have to be made to do what you want and Sammy found that out too.
“My streaming is not really active anymore due to me being super busy with the other organisations and in real life as well.”
Working in all those organisations must have been enough work as it was. Though Sammy had a great experience and a lot of respect for what Gfinity was doing.
“That was the reason I applied there. Working together with the other admins, I started to like them. They are really awesome people. And it does not revolve around RL, you can also help on different tournaments if you want and that makes it really nice and varied. When the cups are up they have tournaments daily and not like once a week like every other organisation. I like it that you can choose what days you wish to help.”
The trolls and the glamour.
Large organisations like Gfinity and smaller ones like Volution are usually made up of awesome people and a lot of people tend to forget that. But is there a hard part of being so active in so many communities, like trolls?
“Well there is not really a “hardest” thing in moderating communities. It is more that people in general just do not read the rules of tournaments or of a community. So if you speak to them about rules being broken, they play the “I didn’t know that” card and blame the moderators and admins for them not knowing. But in general, communities can be really awesome and most of the people I meet are really nice and fun to talk to. And if I meet trolls they are in the stream community or on the streams itself. But there are not really many trolls.
People behave very differently online. Those little kids that are quick chat spammers and basically typing insulting stuff in game chat are most of the times people that are being bullied in real life. Online they feel more powerful because no one actually knows them and they can be whoever they want to be. They can be the people that they think they cannot be offline.
So I personally don’t think that my job with mentally disabled people helps dealing with people online. I am generally a person that can handle a lot of bullshit and if people go too far they will hear that from me and either being warned, kicked or blocked depending on what they do.”
At the opposite end of the scale of trolls, to many people playing on a pro team is a dream and what happens behind the scenes is somewhat of a mystery. Can being so active and being on a team conflict with each other? Is being on a team as fun as it looks?
“Well playing in a team can be really awesome, if you have found the right teammates. You need to have some synergy going with your teammates, and just basically have fun. That is what’s most important. If you have fun, the ranks will come as well and the good teammates will stick around.
It is really difficult to combine playing for an organisation and being a tournament organiser for organisations as well. Most of the times I cannot play in the tournaments that i need to run, which makes it hard for me and my team to play. So at the moment my team is kinda falling apart due to me being not able to play much.”
Developing language through gaming.
Communication is a massive part of any relationship, be that professional or personal. So to be on a team and active in so many communities must be challenging when English isn’t your first language. However, like many people we speak to about their English, Sammy says that gaming massively helped.
“In the Netherlands you get English in school from like the moment you are 10 years old, and since then you learn it until you leave college. But gaming has made my English even better, by communicating in a foreign language for 90% of the time when I am online. You do practise and polish your English in text and in speaking it. I do have a Dutch accent though, at least that’s what everyone tells me.”
Though you might master another language, people’s communications can change when they don’t know who they’re talking to. When they do know they’re talking to a girl in a male dominated community, does that change?
“The whole gaming community is male dominated still. It is slowly changing though and girls are playing more and more and actually speak up now as well. I think “girls and gaming” has been a taboo for ages and recently it is more accepted so there is a shifting coming. In the game people do respond differently if they find out that I am a female. They are either adding me on steam or they are calling me out for the most awful stuff you can think of. But thank God the organisations are not responding differently to me being a woman. They just treat me like any other admin and the players I need to get in touch with are also responding normally too.”
Shouldn’t that be the way that it is all the time? At Volution we hope so. Sammy is a great example of what hard work and determination can get you not only in life but in eSports. Selfishly, it’s a joy to have Sammy in our community at all. At the end of 2018, Sammy took more of a pivotal role in Volution too, becoming Community Director.
The busiest of bees.
Sammy is one of the busiest people we know. So why take on another role at another Rocket League Discord and how does she manage it?!
“I just like to help out Rocket League communities to get to their top performance. I saw a lot of potential while talking to the owners of Volution. Great communities need wonderful minds and hearts behind the scenes to make the community a great place to stay. And so far, seeing the dedication that these owners have put into the community, that is motivation enough for me to help out where I can. I’m a great multitasker too, which makes it easier to help out multiple organisations or communities at the same time.”
We’re trying to make a name for ourselves for different reasons. Sure, we have a lot of the same things that a lot of other servers do but what makes Volution different from all the others according to Sammy?
“The care you guys have for the well being of the players and just people in general. When I joined I noticed that you have a mental health section. Where people who are struggling with stuff, in real life or even online, can share their thoughts and get the help and support they need to get through the day. I recently lost a person that stood pretty close to me to suicide. And I know that it is a subject that a lot of people do not speak about. But talking about your problems and getting support might mean the world to those people and maybe even help them to change their minds and hopefully we do not have to lose people to suicide.”
It’s undeniable that Sammy has a wealth of experience and a great set of skills. It’s who she is though that makes her so vital to all of these communities and she has the same beliefs about communities that we do.
“I want to see Rocket league communities where people help each other out, Grand Champs sharing their knowledge of the game to lower ranked people who want to improve. People enjoying playing with each other as well, inhouse games where rank does not matter. Just simply people enjoying the game again and being non toxic to each other.“
Looking at the community as a whole, it’s brilliant to know that someone like Sammy is working behind the scenes at many organisations, even though you might not know about it. If you want to get to know her more then hit the link and we’ll see you server side!