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Becoming bulletproof—Fusions illustrates the highs and lows of Overwatch

Volamel 2019-07-23 05:59:23 [Sassy_Social_Share]
  “Usually calling doesn’t really exhaust me physically, but I'd say at points it definitely takes a mental toll,” said 20-year-old Boston Uprising main tank Cameron "Fusions" Bosworth. “The hardest part is making sure you understand the game to the point where you can reliably shotcall and lead, since things are always changing at this level of the game.” Joining the Uprising after a surprising post-season trade, both parties have become synonymous with one another. A young and scrappy team led by their indomitable leader, who not only stands as one of the league's best in-game leaders but also stands as a shining example of passion. Passion to pursue a dream, to work hard, and to feel. Fusion uses his experience at both ends of the emotional spectrum as guides to direct his team whenever and wherever possible, even giving emotional pep talks to the team in times of need. “I usually try my best to give pep talks to my team when I feel like there's a lack of energy in a scrim or a match, and that people are hesitant or less confident than usual,” Fusions said. “The most important thing to maintain that atmosphere and energy is to try your best to see things from an objective standpoint. If you are getting frustrated or flustered in or out of game, it not only takes a toll on your teammates, but also makes any positive reinforcement that you try to apply after worthless.” This ability to become a psuedo-coach while in the game has become paramount in the Boston Uprising’s early success this season. With Fusions leadership they managed multiple reverse sweaps this season. This comeback mentality speaks to the mental fortitude of the players and the guidance of Fusions.      “No one wants to listen to someone lecture them when they're not even giving their best,” Fusions explained. “I'd say I mostly try to focus on that and the positives of the scrims [and] matches that we're in, to help people be confident in our play and in the team at the time.” While Fusions wields empathy like a sword, it can create a spiral of worries for the user. This is why Fusions has a new mantra: honesty at all costs. “I try very hard to be honest with people at all times and be as open as possible,” he explained. “It's just something that I constantly tell myself I should do in order to be a better person.” “I don't think anyone specifically has commented directly to me that I am particularly straightforward or blunt, but I think in general my biggest flaw in that regard is that I'm too nice to people a lot of the time. I'm often scared to tell people anything remotely close to something they might take the wrong way or react negatively to. I'm slowly learning that sometimes being as honest as possible, even if it's not the best, is the best way to communicate with people at this level of the game. It takes a lot of trust in your teammates to be able to give them criticism at the right moments, and I think that the ability to put aside your ego and take feedback onboard and learn from it, is an important trait that players need to get to the top level.” To become the Boston Uprising’s shield, Fusions had to traverse Overwatch’s cut-throat amateur division, Overwatch Contenders. It was here where Fusions would not only sharpen his game sense but also expand his life experience. Fusions would begin his journey on teams like nerdRage and Mosaic Esports before joining Those Guys, who would eventually become the London Spitfire’s academy team, British Hurricane.  It was with this roster that Fusions won 2018’s first season of Overwatch Contenders Europe. An achievement that he still feels strongly about and a team he still feels strongly about. “I've said it before, and still to this day, winning that match was the best moment of my Overwatch career so far,” Fusions said. “It tops World Cup and any of our insane reverse sweeps this season. We worked hard with that roster through good and bad times, and we were really close as a team. I remember specifically jumping up out of my seat when we won and hitting Hafficool accidentally as I jumped at him. It was an absolutely spectacular moment of pure joy.” As he continued, Fusions humbly shifted the topic to highly one of his aforementioned teammates, the British Hurricanes veteran flex tank, Hafþór "Hafficool" Hákonarson. “I'm sad that more of the Hurricane guys aren't in Overwatch League from that roster, specifically Hafficool,” Fusions said. “I think Haffi has a bad reputation among many teams from a long time ago as being toxic or having a bad attitude, but in reality, he is one of the most driven and competitive people I have played with and would be a great addition to a lot of Overwatch League or top North American academy teams.” While moments of his Overwatch career have reached pure bliss and excitement, there are other memories that hurt a bit more than others. With his promotion into the Overwatch League, this brought new challenges that weighed on Fusions' mind, which caused him to become emotional on stage.   “My frustration at the end of the Houston game in Stage 3 built up for a while and it was a mix of different factors,” Fusions explained. “There was a lot of pressure on us to do our best and win that game. Losing would really cement us as one of the weaker teams at that moment, so the match alone was really nerve wracking [and] for me personally, it was a rough time.” “Before the start of Stage 3, I was under a lot of pressure to improve as a player, specifically on Reinhardt and Wrecking Ball for that stage. So I grinded and grinded ranked, I watched tons of VODs and worked to the point of mental exhaustion every day.” To Fusions credit, this isn’t a strange occurrence. Last year the Shanghai Dragons reported that they, as a team, practiced nearly ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week Many speculate that because esports has the removal of physical governors, to an extent, it allows its participants to push themselves to their mental limits and results in high burnout rates. Coupled that fact with how quickly esports shifts and you’ve got a recipe for a dangerously high level of hyper motivation, where to survive you’re forced to give everything you can. However, after the outburst, Fusions saw that his previous training methods were not healthy and made a significant change. “It was a massive mistake on my end,” he admitted.” I built up so much stress from telling myself I was bad and that I needed to improve, that I ended up in a depressed state for a while, where I felt like I wasn't good enough and needed to be better. While it's good to have the drive to improve, pushing yourself beyond your limits and trying to put more work on when you're already overworked can have the inverse effect that efficient practice should have. All of that built up toward the Houston game, and when we lost, I really did feel like I was in a hopeless spot. We had hit rock bottom.” “I got a ton of nice messages from fans afterwards, which really helped motivate me. I talked to my coaches and really tried to change my attitude toward practice. I have regained the confidence that I lost early on during Stage 3, and I push myself to my limit in terms of practice but no further. I want to make my practice as efficient as possible, so it's important for me to be stable mentally. I really have found myself in such a better place mentally now because of it, and I have my fans and team to thank for that.” Emotion comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it can be that sudden release of relief and exuberance that Fusions felt after he and the Hurricane won Overwatch Contenders. Other times it can be this existential voice that constantly berates you with unhealthy “motivational” speeches. They can even be those persistent thoughts of regret, something that Fusions deals with a graceful sense of maturity. “I regret small things in my career, like I think anyone else does naturally,” he said. “I could've done things differently, but honestly, I feel like every step I've taken in my career has given me experience, and built me to be the person I am right now. If I could go back and change anything, I absolutely wouldn't.” “One example that comes to mind is that during my time in Mosaic Esports with Kodak, Emil, Luddee and a few other big names in European Overwatch, and under the coaching of Stoop, now of the LA Valiant, I was pretty close-minded and my approach to learning was frankly terrible. I responded to feedback with excuses regardless of how bad the mistakes I made were and I argued a ton. I was eventually removed from that team [and] I haven't had a perfect run since then, but if I didn't have that experience and learn from it, I would've remained in that mindset and I wouldn't have joined Hurricane and won Contenders. So, [in short] I have absolutely no regrets in the bigger picture.”
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would to follow his thoughts you can follow him at @Volamel. Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

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