My Life Before eSports

By Mitch “Krepo” Voorspoels of Evil Geniuses

Hey everyone,

Instead of writing about another league related topic, I decided to look at myself for this blog. I’ll focus on Mitch rather than Krepo.

Well let’s go back all the way to the start. I never really experienced a big trauma in my childhood or won a battle against the odds to define who I am, so no Eminem story here. No, I grew up in a family that was rather well off due to extremely hard working parents. My mother had literally nothing growing up but worked her way up to prevent me from going through the same experience. She’s an amazing woman and all I can fault her for is perhaps spoiling me too much in an attempt to excuse her busy life. I was very fortunate in my upbringing apart from being alienated from my father during my later teens (only to be replaced by an even better step-dad).

While my parents did their best at teaching me respect and courtesy, in hindsight I still grew up extremely spoiled. They were so busy all the time they ended up overcompensating by giving me pretty much everything I wanted. Growing up I did well in school without putting in too much effort, if any at all. I always thought I was smart, but lazy. I had an incredibly off-putting and self-excusing attitude. Attending university for engineering quickly changed my mind about that. When you’re surrounded by peers that all were the top of their class you suddenly feel rather average. Since then, I have immense respect for people with good study methods & solid time management. People that I’d prior refer to as “tryhards”, but we’ll get to that point later.

Looking at myself now, I’d like to believe I’m outgoing, social, somewhat confident & hopefully funny (can be debated). However, that wasn’t always the case. Part of the reasons why I was one of those smartass kids is because I wasn’t socially adept. I was extremely shy & uncomfortable in new or unexpectable situations. I was always the last one in line, falling in love with girls was a one-way street, and occasionally I’d get bullied, or so I thought. No my teens weren’t ideal, and while i’m telling you a sob story here, I think a lot of it was my own fault.

Being in the environment where I am now and generally just growing up in life has taught me that you have to seize the opportunities, not wait for them to happen. If you’re not confident, then act confident, it’ll come eventually. Don’t be afraid of failure, it’ll only teach you valuable lessons in life. I used to always blame other people for being mean to me, life for hating me, girls for taking the “cool” guys, but not the “nice guys”. In the end, I was a whiny smartass, had no confidence, and had a rather poor sense of fashion. You can’t expect good things if you don’t put in some effort.

I’m extremely grateful though, of having had a big bunch of friends that grabbed me along and taught me the ropes. This bunch of extremely social and seemingly confident kids didn’t mind having me around even though I was rather silent and shy. While growing up I picked up a few things from them and just generally grew more confident. Going out with them and playing or watching football was and still is one of my favourite ways of spending time. I’m always so happy when I get to go back home to see my friends. Spending time with them at my favourite pub is one of the reasons I keep going back home for. For awhile it all got better, but I still lacked an identity.

And that’s one question I want everyone to ask themselves, without sounding too philosophical. Who are you? What drives you? What’s your motivation? I struggled a lot in college in an education I forced myself into, telling myself I was smart enough to do it. My heart just wasn’t in it, but I felt I had to do it, as if it was expected of me. I ended up wasting of my parent’s money doing so, as they paid my tuition. Fortunately in Belgium, that’s not as a big deal as in the USA because I breezed through high-school I had a hard time actually studying.

I got extremely lucky that I found a way out in e-sports, and couldn’t be happier doing so. I absolutely love what I do like traveling the world and meeting amazing people. League of legends is the first thing in my life that actually defines me, drives me to work hard and put in effort. It’s an immense load off your shoulders when you finally find something that defines you, gives you an identity. I want to thank my teammates, all the people that I’ve worked with, all the fans for giving me this chance, and of course my girlfriend for supporting me. It’s an incredibly liberating feeling to feel desired. People are interested in what I think or say. It has greatly helped me build up my confidence and at the same time identify where I went wrong/what I did wrong growing up.

My life got better, things always get better if you believe they will. That’s the main reason I wanted to write this blog. If you’re one of those teenagers that feels alone, unlucky, sad or you can just relate with part of my story, then know it gets better. However, it requires some effort, look at what you can change. Stand up straight, mind your clothes, hygeine, present yourself well, speak loud and clearly. Listen to advice, but don’t mindlessly swallow it, be critical, but respectful of both yourself and others. There are assholes in the world, but there’s even more nice people. I really like who I am today, but I’m still actively trying to improve myself. However, if you’re a fan of mine, know that’s it not always been that way, and use that as motivation for yourself. I don’t want to lecture people as I was rather lucky with getting to where I am now. I hope you can take some lessons from this little blog. Always look to improve, regardless of what you’re pursuing.

19 thoughts on “My Life Before eSports

  1. Thank you Krepo. Living through rather similar time myself, lives through bullying and right now I am in university, depressed, thinking about life and what to do. I am happy for you and you with league of legends are one of the things I look up to and what keeps me going. Good luck!

  2. Wow!!! I’m really happy you wrote something about your life, cause I really wanted to see the “cultural” differences between Belgium and my country (no big differences in this context though)… also, wanted to know a bit about Mitchy as a kid! You’re a great guy and this inspires me, thank you =)

  3. Thank You for this. I’m in a pretty sad and lonely stage of my life with little to no hope life will get better. After reading your post, I have a littleeeee more hope in life🙂

  4. Thanks Krepo for the wise words. I personally don’t have that issue now but I also had to learn it the hard way. I was also a quiet teenager and was also a victim of bullying and unrequited love. After my studies I became a salesmen and my confidence began to ryze ( see what I did there). I know this blog will help several people with their personal issues. So thx for that🙂 PS: dat “jambers” reference tho😉

  5. I have been a fan of yours since I started following the professional league of legends scene a few years ago, and reading this story certainly encourages me to keep my determination and go forward.

    I never had to put any effort in high school, and not much more when I started studying engineering in university. I was just going with the flow, continuing the education till I graduate like all of my friends. At some point I started to realize that I hated what I was studying, and I would have to do it for the rest of my life. It might be because I was stressed about finding a job for summer (which I never ended up getting) or working nights to pay my rent, which consequently led to drifting away from my friends and losing all motivation towards my life. I didn’t even know what my life was, or who I was. I had never really put any effort to anything, and had always thought that I would be capable of being anything I wanted while blaming all of my shortcomings on bad luck. Until then I hadn’t even realized I actually hadn’t succeeded in anything I would have wanted to succeed, which hit me really hard and I had to completely reform the image I had of myself.

    When you’re depressed, you can’t see a way out. You might know how it’s done, but you can’t do it yourself. Usually no-one else can either, especially when you’re too stubborn to admit to anyone else than yourself that you actually are depressed because you don’t think you have any right to be when you live in welfare and your family is supportive and generally you have no reason to be sad. I didn’t see a way out, I even escaped all the things related by leaving the country and the pressure of deciding about my future.

    As you mentioned in the blog, it helps so much when you find something that you like, that something which defines you. I literally cured my depression in a day when I figured out what I wanted to do. Of course life is not that black and white, but having a dream, having something to pursue and look forward to is just really nice feeling to have. And I found it right in front of me, things that I have been doing since I was little but I never realized I could actually study and make a career out of it. As cliche as it sounds, I only found it after I had given it up and travelled to the other side of the world. Of course I don’t have everything clear and figured out now. I have so much to learn, so much to improve at.

    I loved meeting you in DH2013, and I hope I get to see you in the future too! Best wishes for your esports career and good luck in upcoming games!

    • TLDR; I can totally relate to a lot of things you mentioned, and for all the people struggling with their future; don’t give up!

  6. So…he was a typical kid and after playing in front of a computer for 8-12 hours a day it finally paid off? Surprising..I’m sure thats everyone else’s story too..

    College is hard…I’m going to “focus” on my gaming career instead for a year and if it doesn’t work(like 98% of the people trying to do it right now)I’ll go back. Which they dont. Kinda sad really.

  7. Sorry to break it to you Mitch, but the real life out there is a lot harder for people who don’t have the skill to make it in esports.
    Your speech about believing in yourself and believing it will get better is inspiring sure, but it’s kind of easy to say that when you’re going big in esports and a lot of people lay at your feet just because you’re good at some game. .
    I mean don’t get me wrong, I love League of Legends myself and I follow the competitive scene with great awe for the player’s skills.
    But telling people everything will get better from your point of view is just being a hypocrite. If you hadn’t gotten into esports, where would you be now?

    A lot of people spend 4 or 5 years in college even though they would rather sit at home and play videogames. College is hard, deal with it. “My heart wasn’t into it” is such a lame excuse for “I’m too lazy to study”…
    Studying is not even the hardest part. After college, you have to find a job and you might not always immediately find what you’re looking for.. but you have to earn some money to keep going, so any job will do.
    And that’s okay. That’s just part of life.
    Just because there are more fun things you could do in life, doesn’t mean your life sucks.
    It just means your life is like everybody else’s, the 99% of people who are not famous for some reason.

    • Dude i think you missed the point of whole thing! I completely understand what you are saying, but this is not the place to write post like this. And ill explain to you why.

      In this world that is becoming worse and worse day by day, economic crisis, media manipulating world, political wars etc., there is a lot of kids now days are thinking that they are misunderstood and different etc. Let me explain it my story so you will understand more clearly.

      I’m 28 at the moment and soon will turn 29 and from Serbia, country that for last 25 years is ripped by wars, political manipulation of people and constant crisis and lowest public income country in the Europe, and believe me I’ve seen it all. To sum this lecture in history: i was born in Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, went to primary school in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, went to high school in Serbia and Montenegro, and finished university in Serbia, and all that living in same city – if you see my point. I’ve seen it all wars, bombings, no money to eat, etc. And it kept me pushing you know why? Because i wanted to have better life, i wanted to be architect, which i am today. And yes i had bad times wanted to give up, but you know why i had my parents that were very supporting. I didn’t need to listen to Micheal Jordan to be better player, i had my mum and dad on stands cheering for me and I wanted to be better player so i can make them proud and to become better player so i can have better life…. oh yea i didn’t become professional basketball player, but hell i found something else to work on and still i had support and yes hard work pays off.

      Why i mentioned this is that now days in modern world, people are working 9-12 hours per day, and kids don’t have their parents to support them how i had with my parents, even now, since I’m married, I’m thinking how am i going to have kids when i come home from work at 19pm (my wife to). I want to spend time with my kids not to not see them, whats the point of having one then. But like i said now days u have parents that just give things to their kids to compensate for time they don’t spend with them. And now you have more and more kids that play video games than spending time playing outside.

      Believe me I am a geek, a nerd and i love games and I’m probably now spending more time with computer since its my tool for work and over gaming because i didn’t have modern computer for 10 years, so i couldn’t play modern game for a very long time. And its a good thing that people like Mitch (Krepo) and other guys (players) to make blogs and telling their stories, for those kids that don’t have anyone else to tell them to push when its hard and not to give up and jump from the bridge (since you have more and more cases like that in the world). He didn’t said anywhere in this post thing like: “Guys work hard and you can be like I am – professional player, NO, he said that with anything in life you need to want it bad and work hard to get it, plus have support – which is in this situation HE to the misunderstood kids that read his blog.

      And for you and your post you are just one of the guys pushing them from the bridge…. because if you think that everyone that is saying: “I’m in a pretty sad and lonely stage of my life with little to no hope life will get better.” is lazy kid and telling them its just getting worse, then you are a sad person without future and hope.

      P.S. – if he wasn’t in the e-sport scene he would probably find something that keeps him going because he will have support from his friends and family and other people that care for him and were maybe in same situation. Yes there are bad people in this world but there are even more GOOD people. Think about it.

    • Sometime you just have to try and risk it, HotshotGG once said “You miss 100% spears you don’t throw” and I feel this is the problem with most people: they just overanalyze their priorities without getting down and dirty with it.

      Time is a big restraint (and money as well) but, to quote another LoL pro player quote, “from each defeat comes a lesson” and knowledge, along with willpower, is what will make you a winner: you shouldn’t be afraid of failing, everyone fails, you just have to get up and get back to it until it works.

      College/university is hard for those who join without a precise reason, people need to find something they like or are skilled at and just do it, put everything they have on it otherwise it will never work or, even worse, it will work bad, affecting not only themselves, but those who work with you as well.

      If it sounds easy, let me tell you: it isn’t.
      Lots of people don’t know what it means to really give all yourself to something, it means you stop having social relations, contact with the outer world, sleeping 4 hours at night and crying on your keyboard wondering if you’re just wasting your life.
      But there’s one thing I can tell you: when results come up, if you worked hard enough, you can bet on it that it will get recognized sooner or later.
      Never give up, never accept a life of mediocrity when you have the skills to make something unique.
      Believe in yourself and tryhard EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND. OF. YOUR. FKING. LIFE.
      If you’re not giving it all, you ain’t even trying.
      That’s it, I’m out.

      #RealTalk

  8. For all of you that start complaining about the fact that not most of people in this situation can make it to esports i would like to say that this is not about esports, as he said in the beginning it’s about the life he had before . So yeah there are like 90% or w.e other people out there with the same problems but this is not about those other people, it’s about him sharing what happened to him. The rest of the people can have their own story, if they just start believing in themselves and if they don’t give up. Like him, there are many actors, football players, tennis players and so on who didnt go to college, and so what ? They found something they like doing and then followed the dream.

    I lost 3 years of my life attenting an university that i didnt like. I finished it and so what? It doesnt do me any good now, i will never practice in that domain. Only after i found what i really liked and spent another few years attending another university and my plans for the future look better now.

    Thanks Mitch for sharing that with everybody. I also know what that is like, been there, but i managed to get out of that state of loneliness, shyness by finding what i like, what i was ment to do.

    So for all the people out there you just have to find that „something” that makes you tick and pursue it.

  9. “It’s an immense load off your shoulders when you finally find something that defines you, gives you an identity.”

    Sorry, but this is so wrong. I understand what you mean, you found a “place” in this world. You feel comfortable where you are, doing what you do, and that helps define yourself, but “something” CAN’T defines yourself and shouldn’t defines yourself… This message is for everybody: you’re already somebody, and you don’t need something to define yourself or something that gives you an identity. Don’t follow your life thinking one day you will find one thing that defines yourself and gives you an identity.

    You can follow your dream, do your best in your life, like Krepo, but don’t let something defines yourself because if for some reason this thing disappear from your life , you will just feel totally lost and broken. A person is and will always be much more than something in his life, even if this person spend all his time doing this thing.

  10. Hello Krepo,
    Fellow belgian here, though I was born franstalig (brusselaar) and have a messy dutch (you know how we are, sorry).

    I relate to some of your story, and I’m glad you sorted yourself out, I don’t have the willpower to do so but I’m still content with my life😉

    I also relate to your conclusion on university students that are motivated. I flied through college without giving any effort ever (never opened a book at home), but when university happened, I understood that only people with motivation and passion will make it through, there is no point in half assed studies.

    Keep on entertaining us, broer !

  11. Hey Krepo, I loved this thread! I ended up laughing throughout the whole of it, not because I found it stupid but instead I found it very similar to my life. Im only 15 right not, turning 16 and my hopes for the future is maybe do some line of work in the esports industry. I would also love to meet you one day, but your in the USA at the moment. Maybe one day I may meet you in a SoloQ game! haha!

  12. eSport helps expand and grow the current fighting game community both in new fans and new competitors. Besides, it’s a great way to earn money online game betting. And your favorite game can become an additional way to gain profit. Nice you are!

  13. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
    post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to
    a famous blogger if you are not already😉 Cheers!

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