The League of Legends European Championship brings in talent with stories that are no short of fantastic, with Aaron "Medic" Chamberlain being no exception. Earning his name by being a real life doctor, the play-by-play caster shares what has prompted the lifestyle change.
Let’s dig a little bit into your past and talk about your time in medical school:
So, just for a quick overview, I studied medicine for five years and began working as a doctor and ended up quitting that to become a shoutcaster. I had shoutcast before, but it was just a decision I made, I guess.
Let’s get into your life change. You put so much effort into your medical school, I believe five years plus the residency, right? What prompted you to leave all that behind and actually pursue casting?
I found that working as a doctor, in my final year of med school was very draining, emotionally, mostly. I really struggled to leave my feelings about this at the door. I am an empathetic person as opposed to just a compassionate person, where empathy is that you feel the way the other person feels when compassion is that you understand the way that the person feels.
I’d finish a day and come home and all the problems and troubles, the deaths and families would stick with me. So I made quite an impulse decision after getting an offer from Vainglory to go work with them and leave medicine behind.
"I live by the philosophy that you shouldn’t really regret any decision you make."
Was it just an impulse decision or something that you had been thinking about in the past and was hoping it would lead to something?
Well, I always wanted to do casting, even applied during medical school to Riot and ended up getting rejected. I think it definitely was an impulse decision, but it was the right impulse decision, so I made it for reasons that were sound in my mind, I just did not wait a long time between realizing it and making this decision.
What was it like to leave medical school, did you feel like it was the right decision right away or did you ever get back to think “oh my god, maybe this is kind of crazy”?
I think I still have moments when I realize how much I miss medicine. I really enjoyed it and I still do, but I live by the philosophy that you shouldn’t really regret any decision you make, so I don’t regret it. There are perhaps things that I would have done differently. I ended up splitting with my long-term girlfriend because of it because I had to move over here. There are definitely been times that I think if it’s the right decision, but in the end it always comes down to if I stayed in medicine, I probably would have imploded mentally or physically or something. I am very glad I made that decision and I am very happy where I am right now.
League of Legends and medicine are two completely different things. Was it difficult to adjust to one type of life to the other?
It definitely was. I think the big thing I am learning at the moment is that League of Legends used to be my hobby that I used to get away from work, but now it’s...work, so I try to find other hobbies I use to disengage from the community.
Are you a doctor... as a hobby?
I wish, I wish. I do it on stream every now and then, look through x-rays and such.
Do you really?!
Yeah, it’s really cool, but we’ve gone off some weird tangents, not for the faint of heart.
Sorry, I totally forgot the question…
I asked if it was a difficult change of life!
It’s a very different type of life, it was easy in the first couple of years because I poured myself into becoming the best caster that I could be and there was a lot to learn. Now I am realizing that the other stuff outside of that, like, I just moved to my own place, I am working on myself personally, so the change of lifestyle to me is an eight hour to twelve hour day, where it’s mandated what you have to do and how you progress, to a very fluctuating freelance position, so that is very different.
I think having strict guidelines that I follow to be better versus casting that is so subjective where some people like you and some people hate you, where as being a doctor, if you pass the exams, your consultants give you a good report and you’re promoted. It’s a very big change, and the subjective nature of it all is quite emotionally draining.
In what way?
Well, it’s just that I get flamed. It’s always difficult and we always talk in the casting room about how we shouldn’t use Reddit as a guide, it’s very good advice, but it’s still hard when you see threads of people saying that you are not doing a good job or that you are not trying hard, or that you work really badly with some people.
I remember a cast with Rusty I did at MSI there was an Ezreal build we had never seen before, we got really confused and thought it was a bad build because we didn’t understand it. I got chucked out of international competitions, so I didn’t get [to cast] international competitions I would have gotten because in the moment I didn’t show the control of the situation I should have shown, right? It was good reasoning and I definitely needed to develop that way, but I don’t think people realize how much influence something like Reddit has not only on the caster’s jobs but just on how casters feel, generally.
"Having that trust in my colleagues is definitely a great supportive structure."
It seems like you have found quite a lot of stress in being a doctor but also being a caster, how does it differ to you?
I think that the thing I have now that I didn’t have in the past as a doctor is a support network of people that have been through it. As a doctor, you’re kind of going through hell alongside everyone else, whereas here I got people like Trevor, Frosk, Vedius, and they all have had their ups and downs and now come through the other side. I can talk to them and say “hey, I am struggling with this, I’m finding this difficult” and the thing is we will always tell each other if we think we are doing something wrong or if we think we made a mistake, but we also all support each other when that outside influence comes in. Having that trust in my colleagues is definitely a great supportive structure.
Aside from this structure, how do you deal with stress?
How do I deal with stress generally? I play computer games most of the time *laughs*. I’ll be honest, I exercise, I really enjoy going to the gym, so I get some of my frustrations out that way. I am actually currently thinking what my hobby for the year should be and I am thinking cross stitch. Sitting down for a few hours… yeah it’s a weird one, right?
No, that’s kind of cool!
I think it will be easy to disconnect, sit down for an hour, put on a TV show and just do some cross stitch, so we’ll see.
And what do you have to say to the people that watch you in the LEC?
Thank you so much for watching. It’s an honor and a pleasure to cast for you guys and I hope you keep enjoying the LEC.