The glorious new world of eSports came upon us faster than society could really cope, and as a result we’re still very much in the Wild West era: lots of money flying around in all directions, and people going absolutely nuts trying to get a slice of the pie. This is how we get to the point where Ninja can earn a mind-boggling $500,000 a month and basically every media and sports franchise on the planet are going nuts trying to work out what the fuck Rocket League is.
It’s also how we end up with the mounting insanity of this wild article from the Boston Globe, which covers a dad who is trying to turn his son into a Fortnite star. It’s about Boston dad Dave Herzog, who thinks his son Jordan has what it takes to become the next eSports trillionaire, and as such has done everything in his power to make gaming his only hobby.
For much of the past few months, his life has been contained in this extra bedroom. It’s where he eats all of his meals, where he works through the few hours of daily online lessons that serve as his schooling. And where he spends eight to 10 hours a day — though sometimes as many as 14 — training to become one of the best competitive video game players in the world.
Now, objectively, there’s really nothing supremely different about raising your kid to be great at Fortnite than trying to make them into a sports star. Both require a borderline gruelling commitment which a normal parent would consider, to put it lightly, a bit much. But… well, this is definitely a bit much.
Even so, Jordan’s training schedule allows little time for anything but gaming, which is how his father likes it. In the months leading up to this month’s Fortnite World Cup, Dave has worked diligently to strip away every potential distraction. His son is exempt from household chores. While Jordan’s younger sister, Rachel, eats with Dave and his new wife, Jordan eats alone in front of the computer screen, from a plate Dave places beside him twice a day.Earlier this year, when Jordan’s mother attempted to schedule a tennis outing with her son, Dave quickly nixed the idea.“I won’t allow it,” he says. “Maybe after the World Cup. But he could get hurt, fall, injure his wrist . . .”
At one point, Herzog says (somewhat alarmingly) that he has been “breeding [Jordan] for this,” which is an entirely normal thing to say. He also fondly recalls a time when Jordan participated in the Fortnite World Cup despite being so sick that he threw up over his keyboard.Again: not qualitatively different to subjecting your kid to rigorous and demanding sport regimes in order to set them up for a lucrative career, but maybe that also sucks, you know?According to the Globe, Jordan has made about $60,000 from playing Fortnite, a sum Dave he will “invest on his son’s behalf.”I leave you with this little vignette:
One afternoon, Jordan was asked whether he thought other kids were jealous of his life — staying home from school, sleeping late, spending all night playing video games.“Not really—” he started to say.Suddenly, Dave appeared in the doorway.“I can answer that,” he said. “They’re definitely jealous.“How could you not be?”
Mmm.Image: Epic Games