Season Zero of our Collegiate Fortnite League has been exciting and successful entirely because of the players and their coaches. These people signed up to a platform they’d probably never heard of, showed up in the preseason, and keep showing up every week. We appreciate their dedication and their talent, so we wanted to get to know some of our players a little bit better.
We’ll be rolling out interviews on different players across the PlayVS Collegiate Fortnite League over the course of the season. Next up, Jay Anderson of Shenandoah University, better known as ‘Jayxlw’.
Jay, I noticed on Google Hangout, your handle is “the esports experience”, how’d that come about?
So, at Shenandoah we have an esports degree and I took it upon myself to create a student organization under that umbrella. That student org is called the Esports Experience for Professionals.
Our mission is to give students experience in esports outside of the classroom. The esports degree is brand new as of last semester. I knew that there were a bunch of students that were on esport teams that weren't necessarily involved in the degree. So I wanted to kind of give a creative space for us to do content creation. We have worked for the Washington Justice during their inaugural home stand. We've thrown Madden events, 2K, Call of Duty and all that stuff. It’s like esports business. Event management and content creation is definitely the goal.
So what are you studying?
My degree right now is Esports Media and Communication with an emphasis in Esports Management. So basically there’s a track of 45/48 credits of esport-specific classes. Then the rest is just media and communications. So I learn about journalism, videography, multimedia and event management.
How did you know you wanted to study something related to Esports?
I was a gamer and I just wanted to get involved in the esports community, but I had no idea how or in what capacity I wanted to support esports besides just playing of course. This was kind of my gateway into the more professional side of things.
What do you want to do in the Esports space now and after you graduate?
I thought I wanted to be in business, but now I kind of want to do the content creation stuff, like videography, photography, graphic design, etc. My professor and I actually started an organization called Nostalgia Entertainment under the umbrella company of Nostalgia Esports. Then we have a production, content creation company under that the Esports name as well. We have a few content creators we’re working with plus, we are currently trying to get a pretty big Fortnite player right now that I’m good friends with.
We're going for the Midwestern, Southern style Hundred Thieves. So we're actually on the phone with multiple contractors right now, trying to get some merch going. So in long form, that’s really what I want to do in esports! I want to put forth all my effort and education into that so in the future I can work for Hector Rodriguez.
Haha, why Hector Rodriguez (@H3CZ)?
Well, he’s the reason I got into esports in the first place. I watched all of Optics montage’s back when they were sniping in Modern Warfare. That was really my first exposure to competitive gaming and of course, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, has his own brand. So I think it would be really cool to be in one of those organizations and I’m fairly certain I don’t want to work corporate.
What are your actual origins with gaming in general and competitively?
We got a PlayStation 2 when I was probably eight or nine. So there I was with my dad playing Monster Jam and the college football games. Then the Xbox 360 came out and we would play Madden. But, I've always been competitive and I’ve played football from kindergarten until I graduated high school. I even had offers to go play in college, but my body just wasn't right and so I quickly missed out on a lot of the competitive drive I had going when I was playing traditional sports. So I picked up a controller and started playing wagers and game battles. I must say there really is no better feeling than practicing 8+ hours a day and then going into an online tournament or UMG Carolina, my first esports event, and winning your first series.
Do you ever get nervous when you play?
When I go to LANs (in-person events), yes. Because you put on all that practice and there were times where I would work 10 hour days and then I'd go home and I'd scrim for eight hours or more and get four hours of sleep. This went on from October until February. So, you know, it was a few months of getting four hours of sleep at night and when we really kicked it into gear like that, you’re hoping it will all pay off at one of these events. Then you get to the event and get double eliminated right away and all that practice is just out the window. Plus there is the live event aspect, pros, org owners, casters all hanging around watching you play an open bracket. So, yeah there's definitely some nerves.
Do you have any pre-game routines?
This was 2016 during the golden golden year of music, for me anyways. So I would just put on my favorite playlist that I'd be listening to and get in the right headspace.
Do you have a gaming career highlight?
I was playing a tournament in the early days of Fortnite when you would play 2v2 as a squad and see which duo racked up more kills. And in this match we got set up against Nick Mercs and Neo, who we’d played before in close matches so we were really excited to get into this game and finally beat them.
Anyways, we load into the game, drop into tilted and Nick Mercs just popped off with a blue revolver and just started cracking heads. At one point he stole a green tac from me and ended up getting a squad wipe as I sat there just trying to pickaxe people to steal the kills. It actually ended up in his tilted montage on YouTube. So, that’s definitely a highlight for me.
Who would you say you admire most in the Fortnite community?
Definitely Nick Mercs. The man embodies a lot of what I've lived through. He went through a lot of the same stuff that I went through in life. I was in the air force special operations training, and he was in the Navy special operations training. So right before I left for basic, he DM’d me and said good luck. So that really touched me. What’s more is, he built a really good community. He'll sit down and chat with you and do giveaways and all that cool stuff, but at the end of the day he's a very humble dude. So, you know, I've always looked up to him, and I guess you could say he's pretty good at Fortnite too.
Secondly, I want to shout out Assault. I don't know if you all have heard of Assault, but he started his career in ghost gaming and he’s currently a free agent. He's from the same town as me and we used to play Search and Destroy wagers together. Before I left for the military, I gave him my Astros' and I think he still uses them to this day. He's big ballin’ right now in Fortnite so definitely look up to him. Above all, he's hometown, so I’ll always support him.
Finally, is there anybody you’d like to shoutout?
Both of my parents. Regardless of what they know about esports it's always been nothing but support through whatever I do. My dad since day one has taught me work ethic and no matter what industry you're in, no matter what college you're going to, if you don't have the right work ethic, it's just not gonna work. But then there is also the compassion I learned from my mom. You have to have that when you’re in a position like I am with this new organization. If you’re gonna be in charge of quite a few people there has to be some give and take. My mom's always been someone I look up to in that aspect. She's got the highest emotional intelligence that I've ever seen. Definitely both of them for being great role models and making me the way I am today.
As always, we appreciate players taking the time to talk with us about their experiences in life and esports. Keep an eye on this space for more spotlights on the people who make PlayVS special.