Countless hours of online gaming in his free time recently paid off for one Fort Gordon Soldier.
When Spc. Travis Spires, a training room clerk with U.S. Army Cyber Command, was presented with an opportunity to compete in the Army Esports Online Soldier Showdown II, he took it – and he won.
“My first sergeant sent out an email, I saw it, and I signed up,” Spires said.
Esports Soldier Showdown is a worldwide online gaming tournament open to all active-duty service members and Army Reservists. Competitors had three game tournaments to choose from: Fortnite, Rocket League, and Call of Duty: Warzone.
Spires signed up to play Fortnite in the competition, and unsurprisingly, placed first overall.
“Most military members tend to play Call of Duty and whatnot ... I played Fortnite religiously,” Spires said. I mean … I would play for hours on end just to get better because I play competitively outside of this competition. It was just all about going home, practicing, getting better for the next tournament to come up.”
The tournament took place in March over a span of three weeks using a single elimination bracket.
“You would randomly get partnered up against another player, and then if you beat that player, you’d move on to the next bracket, and you would accumulate points throughout the week for an entry into the Grand Finals, and then you would play the top six players, I believe,” Spires explained.
Despite being a skilled gamer with confidence and years of experience, the competition had some unforeseen challenges. From a broken controller the first week to the game lagging throughout the tournament, Spires said he “just sat down, focused, and won every game.”
Spires’ supervisor and ARCYBER training room NCOIC, Staff Sgt. Andrea Pierce, said she wasn’t the least bit surprised to learn that he won.
“When he finds something that he’s interested in, he really goes all in and takes charge,” Pierce said. “I think that’s why he was able to do so well in this competition, because he focused on it and was like, ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this 100 percent.’”
Now that the tournament is over, Spires said he isn’t looking forward to the next competition as much as he is looking to lead others to victory.
“A few of us have banded together – myself and the second place personnel – and so we’re trying to form an Esports league of our own,” Spires said. “I think for me it will be more-so of a ‘sit back’ and manage an Esports league as it grows and help others get into competitions, whether it be for Soldiers or just the open public … give other people the opportunities that I’ve had.”
Fort Gordon Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Brent Smith presented Spires with a commander’s coin and prizes during an awards presentation at the BOSS Headquarters on July 14.
Spires expressed gratitude for everyone who supported and encouraged him throughout the tournament, specifically the BOSS program, which was one of the tournament’s main sponsors.
“They brought the competition to me in a game that I enjoy and played daily just to be better,” Spires said. “I appreciate my wife for being supportive of it … and I appreciate everything Fort Gordon itself has done.”