When Brady "Agilities" Girardi sat down to talk with me after his 4-0 victory against Philadelphia Fusion, I knew I immediately had something in common him. The both of us were freezing cold.
I don't know who set the thermostat at Blizzard Arena that day, but I have a feeling they were probably wearing mittens. The rooms were so chilly, I caught us both shivering sporadically during our interview. Agilities started his path to competitive gaming when he was only 14 and the Overwatch League is, incredibly, his very first job.
The responsibilities of the job are vastly different than anything most people his age have to worry about, and yet, the "new-office-worker" lessons are still the same. Today's being how valuable a spare sweater or cardigan can be.
When did you know you were good at video games?
I knew I was good when I was around 13 or 14. I played a lot of League of Legends and I was decent at the game for my young age. I felt I had a talent for video games -- everyone I picked up I could play well at a decent level.
Then, I played tons of Overwatch, was asked to try out for a team, and here I am.
How much is your success in video games due to how much fun you have when playing them?
If you don't have fun with the game, there is no motivation to be good at it. You have to have fun with the game to play at the highest level. If you are just grinding and you aren't having fun, you are going to get burned out.
"If you are a good online but are nervous on LAN, you have no place in the Overwatch League."
But now, it's your job. Can you still have fun with it?
The most fun I have is playing on stage. Before the Overwatch League started, there were not many LANS so you rarely got to play at that level. But now, we get to play two matches a week and you get that experience to keep growing. The LAN experience is the best way to become a better player. If you are a good online but are nervous on LAN, you have no place in the Overwatch League.
What was the most fun part your last match vs. Philadelphia Fusion?
The most fun that I was having was the third map on University. We just rolled through with quad-tank. There is not really room for error, so we just blasted through the map. That was pretty fun.
So what is the least fun part of the job?
People outside of esports expect that we are just playing video games and having fun all day, but that is not really how it is. You literally have to grind and commit your life in the moment to that game, to be the best.
That is the not fun aspect of it, it can get stressful and there is a lot of pressure.
Few people at your age have a job with so much pressure and public exposure. What is it like to have your life so change so drastically?
It's been crazy. I came to LA when I was just barely 17. I was 16 when I found the team. So coming here and having my apartment paid for, having a place to go to work every day-- it's just completely different. This is my first job ever, I've never had a job before this. This is my first experience getting paid to do something and it's playing video games. Not a lot of people do that.
I came from Canada and my whole world changed as soon as I came here. It's been a good experience so far.
"Before I joined the Overwatch League, I had no idea what I wanted to do."
When was the moment where all of this really sank in?
It was when I first got my contract for Immortals. When we were first signed, we were an amateur team that qualified for a big LAN by ELeague in Atlanta. I think it was 2016-- that is when it really kicked in for me. That I was a professional player and making money off of video games.
As a player, where do you derive your self-worth? How much of it lies in the ability to win?
I don't think it's really the win that determines a players self-worth. It's more about how much they improve and how much they want the win. If you put in the work and actually try as hard as you can, it may not always be a win, but once you are improving and giving it your all, you have nothing else to worry about.
Have you ever caught your self becoming complacent?
I think the most complacent I have ever been was when we had the team house in Redondo and there weren't many tournaments going on. I wasn't really giving it my 100 percent best shot. However, I soon realized I couldn't do that anymore about 5 or 6 months ago, I knew that complacency couldn't happen and I started getting back into it.
What do you do to relax, now that your most fun activity is now your job?
Honestly, nothing. During the Overwatch League seasons, it's very hard to find the time to do things. We have only one break after our second match of the week, so I really don't have time to do things. But, even if I did have the time, I'd probably just relax at home and enjoy the break day.
What does it look like when you relax? Some people are really good at relaxing, are you?
No, not really. I just kind of chill at home, watch TV, sit in bed all day, and that is kinda it. Sometimes I get a massage with GrimReality -- that is the most relaxing thing I can do.
What do you like about massages so much?
It's just so nice. You can feel the knots getting out of your body and it just makes gaming less stressful. I think massages are good for gamers -- you are sitting down all day and all tensed up. After the massage, I feel much better.
This is probably going to be hard for you to answer, but, if you weren't a pro-gamer, what else would you be doing?
I have no idea.
I'd probably be going to college right now. Maybe trying to figure out what I wanted to do. But, before I joined the Overwatch League, I had no idea what I wanted to do.
Follow Agilities on Twitter and his team, The Los Angeles Valiant. All photos inside the Blizzard Arena stadium taken by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment and subsequently released by Blizzard for publication
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.