FORT POLK, La. — Who said all those years of playing video games wouldn’t pay off? Pfc. Timothy Cleghorn, 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, used his hard-earned gaming skills to perfection as he took first place in the Soldier Showdown Fortnite Video Tournament’s fourth week ending July 25 for this region of the country.
The Soldier Showdown online tournaments showcase a multi title/multi platform tournament held over a period of 12 weeks from July 4 through Sept. 19. Some of the games Soldiers can compete in include Madden, Rocket League, Call of Duty, Fortnite and more.
Cpl. Bianca Ortiz, BOSS president, said the feedback on the tournament and the games being played by single Soldiers has been positive.
“The Soldiers like the games they get to play in the tournament because they are recent games they are familiar with and play every day,” she said.
Cleghorn said he was familiar with some of the games, but not all of them, so he didn’t sign up for those.
“I’ve only played Fortnite and Call of Duty, but I plan to continue playing to try to win again.”
The Army National Guard, Army Entertainment, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers and Complexity Gaming worked together to offer and promote the free event.
Ortiz said the BOSS program, Fort Polk Morale, Welfare and Recreation and leadership is really proud of Cleghorn.
“When I sent the MWR Facebook posting of the winners for that week to Command Sergeant Major Christopher Ausbun, garrison command sergeant major, he was impressed,” she said.
The purpose of the video competition in the middle of a pandemic is to give single Soldiers a chance to have fun doing something they would normally do anyway — play video games in the barracks while maintaining social distance. It also added a layer of competitiveness by having Soldiers from all over the world play against and interact with each other while giving them a chance to win prizes for their efforts.
Cleghorn said with quarantine, there wasn’t a lot to do, so this opportunity to play and compete with other Soldiers online was great.
“I enjoyed communicating and playing against other Soldiers from different bases. It was pretty cool,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity to take part in the tournament. It’s awesome — I love it.”
Playing game after game during the tournament was intense, said Cleghorn.
“I played five games and it took about two and a half hours,” he said. “The game play was set up so that it was always two versus one. It was frustrating and challenging.”
Cleghorn said for him, gaming is all about using your imagination and strategy to win.
“A lot of people don’t understand how much thinking goes into a game like Fortnite. Players that can think fast have the advantage,” he said.
Cleghorn said if you are good at the game, you are going to probably win quickly.
“If your competition is good and you are good, it’s going to take longer to win,” he said.
Each week, the winner of each time zone receives a gaming package that includes a tactical backpack and a top of the line gaming mouse — these are the items Cleghorn, a BOSS Soldier, won.
“I have a nice mouse already, but the one I won will be my backup if mine breaks. The backpack is great. I really like it,” he said.
At first, Cleghorn said he didn’t believe he had won.
“I didn’t expect to win, but it felt good. I kept repeating, ‘I won this; I won.’ Everyone online started congratulating me,” he said.
If Cleghorn continues to play and win in the Soldier Showdown Video Tournament, he could garner enough points to find himself at the leaderboard.
The three Soldiers at the top will win a 24-inch gaming monitor and a VIP experience at Complexity’s headquarters in Frisco, Texas, where they will enjoy a day in the life of a gamer.
Cleghorn said he’s pretty confident that he has a chance to win future games as well.