Letter from Lee Ji-hoon to Pro Gamers and Those Who Want to be Pro Gamers

Written by : Lee Ji-hoon
Edited by : Lubic, Viion
Illustration by : Lasso

Hello, I am coach Lee Ji-hoon, a.k.a Fifa-hoon.

Actually, people used to call me Fifa-hoon, but all of a sudden it changed to Dark Veil Hoon. I thought to myself, ‘am I really a dark veil?’ but the kt kids won the KeSPA Cup, so I can’t even deny it anymore.
(Note: In Korean communities, fans are calling him Dark Veil Hoon because they claim that coach Lee Ji-hoon is the dark veil that blocks the team from becoming champions.)

Wouldn’t it have been great if they did well in the first place? I’ll knock the lights out of those little… no, no, I congratulate them with all my heart.

It’s been a while since I’ve greeted fans; this time in a whole new style!

I hesitated a bit because I’m not that good a writer, but I gained courage thinking that if it wasn’t this chance, there won’t be many chances for me to speak out so comfortably.

I’ve seen much more pro gamers than you think I’ve seen. Starting from Lim Yo-hwan, Hong Jin-ho, Lee Young-ho, Jang Jae-ho, Lee Sang-hyeok, Fifa-hoon (I’ll just blend in here); somebody who had a successful career, to numerous names that weren’t able to even be known to the public, or didn’t even have the chance to debut.

With great talent or potential being the base, players had put in countless hours of effort to be in that position. However, there are also players that don’t have that great talent but succeeded with excellent self-discipline and painstaking effort.

As a person who has been in the eSports scene from the beginning, I want to talk about how to become a pro gamer, or, a good pro gamer.

I’m confident with counseling because I’ve counseled many people, but I’m a bit worried because it’s my first time trying to put it in words, as an article. Anyways, I’m not a head coach anymore! Just a free guy with some time to spare (unemployed Lee Ji-hoon), so I’ll try to write as comfortably and easy as possible.

◈ Look straight at reality.

As the eSports scene is growing, and because many see the elegant glory of pro gamers, there are more and more people who want to become professional gamers.

If someone becomes the best at a game in school, or the best in the neighborhood, people start encouraging them. “You should become a pro gamer.”

Some people don’t know how reality is like, and go right to their parents saying:

“I’ll quit school and become a professional gamer.”

Now, let’s be frank here, all of you who dream of being a professional gamer. Are you quitting school because you sincerely want to succeed as a pro? Or is it just because you like playing games and want to play all night?

The majority of the people I’ve met were the latter. I’m not trying to disparage the effort and passion of these people, but I’m trying to straighten irrational judgments that were made with immature minds.

Many people ask me, if I would let my child (if I ever get any) be a professional gamer. I say with a very stern voice, “NO, NEVER.” There are too many things to consider at such a young age, and many different circumstances have to go just right to succeed; it’s a very difficult thing to do on one’s own.

I may sound very negative; I might be more positive and say hopeful, rosy stuff if I was an active coach, but since I’m not, I’m being 100% frank. This decision has to be made with care, and one needs absolute assurance, not just simple confidence in one’s own abilities.

I’m saying this because I’m worried about the people who might get frustrated from their own desires or from making wrong decisions. Knowing one’s own level and making precise plans by talking deeply about their dreams with parents or teachers is very important.

This is also relevant to active professionals. There are players who have already been to the top and many who are just starting. Everyone wants to succeed, but as you know, the professional scene is cold-blooded.

There are many old professionals who knew where they were, and took the challenge in a different area to succeed. What these people have in common is that they adapted that passion and effort to their new challenge.

Of course, succeeding as a professional gamer would be the best result, but there’s no need to be disappointed if you didn’t become the best in Korea, or in the world. Just think that anything is possible with that kind of attitude and effort.

◈ Sacrifice, and giving up.

I really respect the professional gamers of Korea, and think that they do great and splendid jobs. However, I feel sorry for them having to sacrifice and give up so many things.

They don’t get to go on any membership training trips or enjoy campus life; they don’t get to be part of a campus couple (I have, woo-hoo). During the time they should be spending with friends and partners, they have to spend that time in a practice room with tons of stress. Of course, it was their choice, but they’re still in that young age when they want to enjoy their life more.

They might want to find a girlfriend, travel with friends, and go to clubs, but their rivals will be putting in tons of effort at that exact same time.

We are making concessions at this very moment; for teammates, for one’s own desire. Get a little bit more determined, offer a bit more sacrifice; but if you don’t bend in front of winning and succeeding, your future will be bright.

◈ Be responsible.

You are the face of the team. You always have to be humble and set good examples. There are fans who support you.

Even when you’re tired and exhausted, you have to take a short break and be back on your legs again. If you want to complain and be like a baby, it’s not too late. Quit.

This is a very, very hard road to take. If you succeed and pass all the ups and downs, there will be glory and honor waiting at the end of that road. Am I talking in a voice too strong? This is reality, and this the road you are pursuing.

As a former professional gamer, as a coach, I sincerely hope that all of you succeed.

Just remember one thing, to make your dream come true, your ‘attitude’ is the most important. You are someone’s hero, and someone’s future. Be responsible and take pride in what you do.

I have so much to say, but it’s so hard to express myself in writing. I respect all of you who are putting in countless hours of effort and sacrificing your youth in the intense world of professionals. You shine the brightest when you are a professional gamer. I really hope that you achieve your dream.

If you have any questions or if you need advice/counseling, you can ask me personally through my Facebook or E-mail (magicnsfifa@naver.com). I am always ready to answer you.

Now, this isn’t that relevant to whatever I was talking about; it’s just my personal curiosity; when will Faker get a girlfriend? And when will coach Kim Jeong-gyun (kkOma) get married?

I’ll be visiting Inven until I get the answer to these questions. I hope you keep me informed.

Thank you!


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