• Русский
  • English
Post-ESL One New York Blog: A Camera Man's Perspective 07.10.2015 Author // theDabca

As soon as it began, it was already almost over. After the first day, four teams were already eliminated. And then there were two, and finally only one. Vega Squadron stood tall throughout all of the jetlag, technical difficulties, and eyesore to come out on top!

Showing up on Friday, the team headed right to the decked-out practice rooms, transformed into computer studios from dressing rooms, and from that moment on they spent most of the weekend in that room. Only leaving for smoke breaks and matches, our boys studied, practiced, and played for hours upon hours. Dedication was the key here, and our dedication paid off!

I first arrived at Madison Square Garden Theater on Saturday morning, meeting the rest of the press and the ESL One press staff. These two ladies took care of everyone and made sure we all knew where to go and when to be where. I then snuck off to the club room to grab water and a Coke, getting ready for the coming onslaught of press coverage and event madness.

I soon realized that our team was not present, and hurried to the hotel to take pictures as they walked down the iconic New York City streets, cabs drivers hollering and cars honking. They didn’t seem to notice it at all, their focus utterly and completely given to the match ahead. After all, they took the short straw and were facing the World Champions and current Aegis holders Evil Geniuses in the first round. Time was of the essence, get to the computers to begin the arduous climb into their comfort zone.

At the beginning of the day I was press, by the end I was part of the team. Vega Squadron’s owner acquired a player pass so I could get backstage and into the player rooms, where the team awaited.

After a few interviews with NVidia everyone made their way backstage and grabbed Red Bull and Chips, the breakfast of champions. We have all been there, and will look back at those moments with a smile. First week of college, first day at the office, the hours before a tournament. These moments all seem the same. Stress is the name of the game, and Vega Squadron prescribed small doses of Chess, Twitch, VK, and laughter.

After some short interviews with the team myself, I hurried out to catch the first match of the day between Team Secret and Fnatic, the most hyped match of the day. I learned quickly where I could go with my new player pass, and that was pretty much anywhere. I had to be careful where I walked, going around cameras and going onstage only when the cameras were on the Analyst Panel or Commentator Desk. The whole setup was just sublime, and I only had a few seconds every minute to take it all in.

One of the stage managers welcomed me to the world of working in eSports saying, “Where you will never watch a tournament again. You see that computer there? I can just barely see the game from here from his perspective every couple minutes. That’s all I get to see.” And I didn’t beat that by much the first day.After the EG game, everyone went back to the hotel to sleep, I didn’t get back until 1am and I still had a daily recap article to write!

Waking up on day two was horrendous, after five hours of sleep, I had another 15 to work. I showed up at the theater at 10:30am, 30 minutes late. Luckily I didn’t miss much, and I settled right in. When it was Vega’s turn to play, after the Secret vs CDEC match, I followed the team onstage and took pictures and videos of everything I could. I then hurried down with Alexey Kondakov, Vega Squadron’s Owner, to the front row of the VIP seats, beautifully reserved for team management.

Not long after the game started, my neck took a turn for the worse and I moved up to the edge of the section, and from that perspective I took video of every highlight I could, getting the crowd’s reaction on audio. The oooooo’s from Solo’s Ice Blast were hysterical and the chants for Vega Squadron after the semi-finals, amazing. No one expected us to beat EG, let alone iG and then Secret. No[o]ne carried us to victory, along with the rest of the team.

After the Grand Finals and the Trophy Ceremony, the team headed down to sign autographs for a while, giving me some great shots. These guys are not used to the fame and attention that comes with winning huge LAN events, and hopefully they will have more time in the future!

At 10pm I found myself in an Irish Pub with the newly crowned ESL One victors, Guinness, Jager, and smiles all around. Steaks and Sandwiches were ordered, picks and bans were argued, and songs were sung. These guys were looking forward to the future, but couldn’t just leave the past behind.

It was such a joy to be a part of this tournament with Vega Squadron, and I know I will be able to write more articles like this in the future!