Path to Pro with Jake 'Rogue' Sharwood
Almost all players competing professionally in the industry we know and love have run into the wall of having to educate their families and loved ones about esports. Jake “Rogue” Sharwood, League of Legends player for Pentanet.GG, is a veteran of the Oceanic Pro League; although it took up until signing a professional contract for his family to be onboard with the whole esports thing. We sat down with Rogue recently to talk about how he found his way into the industry and what the pathway looked like for him in terms of educating his family about his career aspirations. In true Rogue style, there’s some absolute gold for anyone out there aspiring to go pro - here’s his story, and how you can follow in his footsteps as currently professional esports player.
Rogue’s Entry Into Esports
Rogue began his career in the esports industry completely by accident, whilst attending Year 11 at high school.
Above: Rogue pictured (centre) during 2017 OPL Season with Sin Gaming.
“I think for most people, until recently, this is the case. I just played the game, ended up doing well and then someone asked me to join a team. It never seemed to be a possibility early on, so I just did what most people do and focused on school,” Rogue said.
When asked about what opportunities existed back then compared to what there is now, he said “when OPL first began it was as competitive as it is now. People played because it was their dream, as much as it is now.”
“The only real difference is there is much more support and infrastructure now. Qualifying to go overseas brings you a much bigger audience than in the past and players have more opportunity to grow themselves,” continued Rogue.
Continuing on from that he stated “I just thought the whole world to be new and exciting. Any time I got a shirt with my name on it, or someone came to film a video, I just wanted to be a part of everything.”
“I think I have esports to thank - without it I would have never been able to discover that I love to talk to a camera!”
Speaking on his parents’ reaction to competing in esports professionally, he went on to say what many of us have heard before.
“Generally my family wanted me to go outside and stop playing video games. But as soon as I came to my Mum and told her I needed her to sign a contract on my behalf so I could join a team and make money doing it - they got more involved.”
“I think that once people started to realise what it was about, they started to be supportive and have been ever since,” said Rogue.
Above: Rogue (centre) raising the OPL trophy for 2019 Split One.
For those still trying to educate their parents about esports and the career opportunities that exist, Rogue said his honesty and genuine passion rang true.
“Speak about what you do with passion - people are willing to support you if you show it’s something you care about.
I think the best you can do is show them all of the cool things about esports. I started by showing my family pictures of live events and telling them about how famous some North American players are.”
Advice For Aspiring Pros
With six years of competitive experience now under his belt, we asked Rogue for his advice for those looking to go pro. Rogue listed a few points to us by stating “balance is the most important thing - a lot of people overwork themselves and neglect their long term health in the pursuit of their esport dream.”
“Give it a shot, but don’t let it dominate your life.”
Rogue expanded on the topic by stating “work on your teamwork. Being with the same group of people through polarising highs and lows is one of the most emotionally exhausting things I’ve ever experienced. It’s so much easier to go through this with a close knit group of people.”
“Being more understanding of people and seeing multiple perspectives to problems is difficult and is something I never would have done when I was a rookie. It’s by far my most valued skill and it is the one skill that will carry over the most into your life,” concluded Rogue.
You can stay connected with Jake (Rogue) and his progress with Pentanet.GG in the Oceanic Pro League by following him over on Twitter. He will be back in action on Summoner’s Rift come June 5th!
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