Since the Stage 1 finals, I have always wanted to talk to Jay "sinatraa" Won about the match. What made me want to talk to him was the look on his face during the Shock’s press conference after the Stage 1 finals. He looked distraught but determined, hungry, and eager to get back into the grind. The more I thought about talking to him, it made think about how much he’s matured since I first saw him play in the 2017 Overwatch World Cup, as a fan.
Fast forward to the present, he’s a star in the Overwatch League and I am currently covering the Overwatch League as press. Interviewing him after his win against the Toronto Defiant in Week 3 was a better time than any to talk to him about my curiosity. Not only did we talk about the Stage 1 finals and his maturity, but we also talked about who helped him be the player he is today.
My first question might be a touchy subject, but I want to talk about the Stage 1 finals. I want to know how you felt playing in that match and the aftermath.
Stage 1 finals was crazy. Like I got the feeling of the World Cup back — like a lot of people in the crowd always cheering for you. Obviously, it was a really intense match. We were all screaming in comms. After, I admit, it hit me hard. Right after the match, me and super went back and started crying for like 25 minutes. It was pretty bad. That's how intense it was. We cared that much.
Did you learn anything from that match?
I think we choked in Rialto, which was the last map of the series. We got too comfortable — like after we got the one minute cap time left. We just let up and then they just rolled us. I think just literally staying focused throughout the whole match until the very end.
When you saw Vancouver celebrating after the match with the confetti falling, did it motivate you to work harder so you can be in their position?
I didn't even look at that, honestly. I just went back. I didn't care about the Vancouver Titans at that point. I just cared about our loss and that's about it.
I've been very hungry, obviously. No one wants to lose like that. After a loss like that, everyone tries harder in scrims. Our scrims are getting more intense and it shows on stage — we're undefeated right now.
What would you say is the biggest improvement for yourself and the team?
I would say the biggest improvement is that we know now what to do. Like, whatever type of situation if they go any comp, if they play a mirror GOATS vs GOATS, we always know how to play. We developed our own style. In the beginning, we didn't really know how to play so we gave away a few matches.
Next, I want to talk about how much you've matured over your career. You've changed a lot since I first saw you in the first Overwatch World Cup in 2017. Can you tell me how you've matured since the 2017 World Cup?
Well, I was 16 years old. I was a kid — being a mean kid. After joining Shock and being in a team house with them, everyone is so friendly, it taught me just to enjoy life and what I do. This is my dream job.
Was there anyone that helped you shape who you are today?
I would say Smurf in the beginning of the season because I always hung out with him. He is a super kind Korean who is always fun to hang out with. Then, super obviously. I always talk to super and it's fun talking to him.
How did they help you become more mature?
I don't know if it's mature — it's more like not just being toxic and mean all the time. They taught me how to have fun with friends and enjoy what you have.
Can you describe how toxic you were before and how less toxic you are now?
I was really toxic when I was 16 [years old], like really toxic. Now, I don't think I'm toxic at all — I don't think at least. Maybe a little cocky, but that's okay.
A lot of people hated me and they still do hate me since I was toxic back then. I was toxic to the point where you say sinatraa and the first thought people had in mind was toxic. People are still like that because they stopped following me and they didn't know I've changed. That's just unlucky.
If there are threads about me on Reddit, they always talk about how I'm toxic. I just don't care anymore.
When you first signed with the Shock, everyone called you "Mr. 150k". What did you think of that alias when you first heard it?
I'm going to be honest. It sucks having your salary leaked for specific reasons. People use it against me now. It's really dumb — even though I'm not close to the highest paid. Why are people making it like I'm the highest paid, you know? I really hated it. Now, I don't care anymore. When I'm streaming, people call me 150k as a joke and I don't mind it.
Can you tell me what things you learned throughout your career?
Well, Season 1 wasn't a good one for me. I had a lot of expectations and I did really poorly. So, I was definitely way overrated. I think I just came in and thought I could be the best by just playing how I wanted. I was playing like it was ladder.
Season 2 after Crusty joined, he taught me a lot, and I mean, a lot of stuff. He definitely help me mature as a player. He taught me to always use your team for yourself. I think I just became more of a team player and a well-rounded smarter player in general.
Can you recall any regrets in your career so far?
I always try to live without regretting anything. I feel a lot of people do that. I would say if I were to regret anything, it would be being toxic. I don't regret it. I just couldn't control it then. It was just all me. I wish I wasn't that person back then.
What was the point in which you told yourself that you need to take being a pro player more seriously?
It was when like at the end of Season 1. When I look back on it, people talked on social media about how bad I was. That's when I thought to myself that I should focus on getting better.
Can you tell me what specific advice Crusty gave you?
Nothing specific. It was more towards the game. He taught me how to use teammates and not treating these games like ranked. You can't win in Overwatch without your teammates. It's a team game at the end of the day. You can have six “okay” players that have insane teamwork and they can be the best team in the world.
In what ways has his advice benefited you on stage?
Mostly communication. Actually, I used to not talk at all. I don't know why. I would always play Tracer and concentrate hard. Now, I would say I am the leader of the team — in a way, comms-wise. I'm always talking 24/7, leading comms, and making plans on what we should do next. Even though, most people on my team do that. I do talk a lot too. I'd say the leadership role.
Do your teammates, coaches, or even management come up to you for advice?
It's like a collective thing. After every scrim, we eat dinner together and do VOD review. We always pitch in our ideas.
You’ve been in the Overwatch pro scene for a while and could be considered a veteran. If you were to give advice to young players, what would it be?
I'm going to give a good tip here. You're definitely going to be nervous on your debut, like your first two weeks. What actually helped me a lot is breathing through the nose and exhaling longer out from the mouth. That's what I did and it calms you down very well.
Are there any shoutouts you want to give?
I'm going to give my shoutouts to all the fans of esports, in general. If it weren't for them, then us pros wouldn't be doing our dream job. This has been my dream for like 7 or 8 years. I thank the fans a lot.
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