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PlayVS LoL Athlete Gavin Sass Has Lofty Esports Career Goals

The California High Schooler Tells Us About His Transition From Gaming As A Hobby To Becoming An Esports Athlete

Thom Fain
Oct 14, 2020

Like many high schoolers with a carbonated beverage kick and a circle of close-knit friends empowered by the convenience of technology, Gavin Sass of Sunny Hills High describes the moment everything clicked: His hundreds of hours poured into strategic battle in Starcraft II could, effectively, give him the cred required to sign up for his school’s newly formed esports team. 

“I have always had a passion for esports ever since I fell in love with StarCraft II,” he told PlayVS. “From there, I went on to play League of Legends and got pretty decent. When I heard that my school was forming a competitive LoL team, I knew it was time to put my practice to the test.”

From there, Sass would help his school’s esports club establish a culture of winning, while proving to his once-skeptical parents that his dedication to training for high-level gaming competition was not in vain.

“Esports has made all the hours that I have invested in video games worthwhile, and proved to my family that video games are more than a way to kill time,” he demurred. 

Throughout the course of the season, Sass formed bonds with teammates that he believes will remain beyond the confines of their computer labs and well into the future. He recounts long chats in their Discord servers, sharing snacks before practice and playing 1v1 in an effort to help each other up their respective games.

“Esports has finally given deeper meaning to video games beyond an entertaining hobby. I now have the ability to compete, improve, and form friendships with my teammates,” he said.

For his part, Sass would forgo his preferred role on the team to play as a support character. His favorite champion in LoL is a Champion named Nautilus. A savvy gamer keen on making the team better by any means possible, Sass figured with so many players vying for a spot on the roster as an Attack/Damage/Carry (ADC) character his way forward was through carving out a niche as a support player. 

“I had noticed, however, that they had a major lack of support players who were dedicated and skilled at the role,” he said. 

In an effort to recruit schoolmates who might have families on the fence about regularly scheduled esports practice, Sass says he only has to point out the industry’s growth. In fact, due to a boon period during the pandemic, research firm Newzoo estimates a $940 million revenue in 2020 industrywide.

“Sometimes, it takes some major convincing to prove to parents that their student is joining a legitimate, school sanctioned program,” Sass pointed out. 

But with continued investment and partnerships pushing competitive gaming to greater heights each and every season, he said that’s usually enough for uptight parents to relax about the Sunny Hills team’s schedule. And for his friends who might otherwise decline an offer to join? The prospect of esports scholarships and personal accomplishment is similarly a great recruitment tool.

“This,” he said, “has been enough to convince any player on the fence to join esports so that they can have the chance at being a part of something great, doing an activity they love.”