iNcontroL – Being in the Public Spotlight

By Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson of Evil Geniuses

Being in the public spotlight as a gamer has its ups and downs. Way back in the day I was a loud mouthed, brash, and completely open professional SC2 player and expressed myself openly on the various podcasts I was on. That earned me a reputation as a guy who you could count on for being “real“, but it also brought me a lot of pain.

When speaking to a large audience, you have to remember almost everything is taken at extremes. For a lot of the people in the audience, this will be their only interaction with you. I use the word interaction loosely, as while they are perhaps having an interaction with you specifically, you are only regarding “them” as a whole – anyways, I digress. The pain I experienced was that for a lot of people, that attitude and openness came off in different ways. For some, it was honest and real. For others, it was arrogant and dominating. The word “bully” gets thrown around a lot with me. The point is that I had to learn what it was like to be in the public spotlight. While being honest and open is a virtue, there is a reason that that kind of behavior is at a premium among public figures. It is safer, easier and “better” to be guarded and controlled.

Over the years I have taken this lesson and tried to find a comfortable place with it. Do I want to be a persona that everyone agrees with? No, and I don’t think I could ever be that. However, it makes a hell of a lot of sense to dial back my honesty and remember that I am not having a one-on-one conversation over a cup of coffee, but rather I am addressing those that support me and those that are perhaps just now getting to know me. Do I want to turn them away with my sometimes-radical opinions and language? No! Do I always ask and then answer questions to myself? Well, sometimes yeah.

I am writing this because gaming is on the rise. Streaming is a new form of entertainment that is replacing the TV in many households. Professional gamers are becoming the athletes people have signed posters of. Game releases represent millions and sometimes billions of dollars. As the sport grows, more people will go through what I went through and could benefit from this lesson. Be yourself, but be mindful that that self you have may need filtering as you are not just addressing individuals, but a collection of individuals. You won’t ever appease everyone, but you certainly can give them a chance to look deeper into you by not showing them the extreme emotion of yourself on one end of the spectrum or another each time you speak. I’ve gotten better at this and it is with this knowledge that I have begun to really enjoy my fame and where I am at in life. Gaming has taken me around the world and has continued to make my life an exciting and ever-evolving adventure. I hope that it will do the same for more!

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