Olivia R. April 1, 2019
OverActive Media senior vice president Marty Strenczwilk said that hiring two U.S. military special forces veterans to work with Splyce and the Toronto Defiant has already yeiled positive results.
In January, OverActive Media hired Patrick Sauer and Thomas Hall to work with the organization's young pro gamers on leadership, relationship management, and conflict resolution skills. On March 17, Splyce finished second in the Call of Duty World League Fort Worth tournament, and the organization's European League of Legends team finished the spring split as the fourth seed going into the LEC playoffs.
"That type of immediate impact is very hard to find," Strenczewilk said.
The innovative senior vice president said the idea came to him when he thought of his brother's military experience. His brother Jonathan is currently the senior manager of player operations for OverActive Media. Then there's the Toronto Defiant's general manager, Jaesun Won, another veteran.
These connections got Strenczewilk involved in EF Overwatch, an organization with the mission to place U.S. military special forces after their retirement from the military.
"A lot of people hire for industry experience, and they overlook these leaders coming out of the military. If you take somebody with a no-fail, no-quit mindset, and you teach them how to do the job, your company will be very different from the rest of your competition," EF Overwach co-founder and former Navy SEAL Mike Sarraille told ESPN.
According to Strenczewilk, the biggest issue in competitive esports is communication. After that, there's stress management and conflict resolution. Since veterans have decades of experience training men and women in battle and finding ways to help them deal with high stress situations, Strenczewilk said it seemed like the right fit.
The two veterans teach the OverActive Media teams about operating as a team and dominating on the battlefield.
"Our decompression from real war is fake war. That would be our stress relief," Hall said.
For Hall and many other veterans, playing video games was a major active duty stress reliever in the barracks. It was a way to deal with being in a war zone, with losing friends and allies, and with seeing death every day. Video games became a big staple in military culture for many people in combat, and these veterans are now able to follow and utilize that experience as they pursue new careers after their service.