"Competition drives me. If you chose a path for money instead of growth, then you have a limited mindset."
Petr "denyk" Haramach believes a person is defined by their work ethic. Of all the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) rookies, he is the oldest (25) and because of his life experience, he might be the wisest. Misfits Gaming’s Support player balanced pursuing a degree in college and his career as a professional League of Legends player before he landed in a major league and was forced to narrow his focus.
When in college, Petr had picked up on League of Legends. At the time, he had been studying at a public institution, towards a Bachelor in Biology and Agriculture. As time passed by, what had initially been the right professional path in his eyes swiftly changed. Upon realizing his heart was not truly in the subject, there was no point moving forward with the plan. Business management aligned with his interests a bit more.
Continuing with the new major, and with practicing the MOBA on the side, Petr started to become more competitive and rose through the ranks. ”I continued to play, mostly as a hobby, when at some point, I started to receive offers for tryouts. I got scouted by a Spanish team (Vodafone Giants), but had declined the offer so I could follow through with my education," Haramach told Inven Global in a recent conversation.
Petr recalls the moment he started to take practice seriously, and see the game as his part-time job: “Back then, I was not focused completely on the game, but I knew I was very good. The thought of playing professionally grew on me and I made it my goal to pursue a career as a League of Legends player."
Discipline has played an important role in his life since the early days. Raised in a family with high standards, where both of his sisters and both of his brothers received a higher education degree, he was expected to achieve the same. At age 18, he had started to practice MMA fighting, where he learned how to manage his time between practice and his studies as a freshman.
With the intention to pursue fighting as a professional path, Petr did not see what was coming next. He had suffered an accident while practicing, breaking his ankle, and keeping him away from MMA for over six months.
When asked what about League of Legends and MMA have in common, the answer is competition. “I play it to prove myself, to show the world that I can be among the best. Competition drives me. If you chose a path for money instead of growth, then you have a limited mindset," said Haramach.
Learning the ropes
Petr did not come to Berlin by himself. On his journey, he crossed paths with Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz, and since their Giants days, the two have been inseparable.
Iván describes Petr as his father figure in the LEC. “Since I started my pro career we have been together on the same team. I try to take care of him because when we started playing together, he was 16 or 17 years old. He did not know the basics of living on his own. I even remember introducing him to the gym," he recalls.
“These players that come to the league really young need more guidance on how to go through their paths, because they can follow any teammate, and they might not necessarily be the best influence for them. Let’s say they have a huge potential as players...but end up with bad practices that won’t take them to their ceiling,” said Díaz.
“I was expecting to make it.”
Despite the duality between what society considers a normal career path and risking it all to successfully become one in a million that actually makes it in esports, Petr knew both options were available to him. “I was expecting to make it. My goal was to be in the LEC in two years. If that didn’t happen, I would have stopped playing. The LEC stage allows me to prove myself, if I was stuck in a minor league for too long then something would have been wrong with my practice.”
Coming from leagues where games happened exclusively online, he recalls: “Entering the stage for the first time was natural. I am never nervous. I go in to test my skills, how much I learned, and if I don’t play well, it means I need to improve my practice. When I am in there, I look for myself, not for others. I appreciate the fans following through with my journey, but I am there to make myself happy."
Misfits Gaming had a dominant performance throughout the Spring Split. During win streaks, Petr became confident in his play at the highest level. “This first split in the LEC was really good to get a picture of what my strengths and weaknesses [were], so I [could] work on myself and have an even better Split during Summer 2020,” says the support player.
Reinforcing his passion for competition, Petr says he aims for Worlds. “I want to play against the best players in the world. This is the ultimate test to see where I can improve.”
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