FORT LEE, Va. - An Ordnance School instructor here recently won third place in a worldwide Installation Management Command All-Army Esports tournament.
Staff Sgt. Derek Castillo was among more than 1000 Soldiers from around the globe competing in a 20-plus-week online gaming tournament titled Soldier Showdown 4. He noted how he was even surprised by his performance over the course of the competition.
“I wasn't even expecting to do that great,” Castillo said. “Seeing myself on the leaderboard early motivated me to try harder and play more because it was a five-month competition across five different games.”
The popular game titles Soldiers could play in their quests to a global leaderboard ranking were Halo Infinite, EA SPORTS Madden NFL 22, Call of Duty Warzone, Rocket League and Apex Legends.
The prize package for Castillo’s third-place finish is quite the haul – an HP/Victus 15” gaming laptop, a 34” Ultra Clear gaming monitor, $500 Amazon gift card, a $200 Complexity Gaming (swag/merchandise) code, a $100 Exchange Visa gift card, a $50 Xbox game card, a $50 Playstation game card, an Army MWR Esports jersey, a pullover jacket, a keyboard, an Xbox Fusion Controller, a headset, a mouse and mouse pad.
The Castillos have three kids – ages 11, 7 and 5 – who also enjoy gaming, so it will be a household with an abundance of exciting toys to sort through ahead of Christmas.
“The prize package is awesome,” Castillo said. “I wasn’t expecting even half of what the package ended up being. It’s awesome they do this for Soldiers.”
Castillo played about 200 hours for the competition in a little gaming area in the basement of his house, often with the kids cheering him on. He described it as a “bonding experience” centered on an activity that he actually tries to limit to a responsible number of hours per day for both himself and the little ones.
“We make sure their homework and household responsibilities are prioritized,” Castillo said, “and we make sure they get enough time outside.”
On a personal level, Castillo sees gaming as a useful hobby for relaxation and coping with stress.
“Whenever I have time, I’ll play for maybe an hour or so to help myself unwind,” Castillo said. “If I don’t play, it’s not a big deal to me, as long as I have time to spend with my family. I’ve always tried to put them first.”
All Soldiers are encouraged to keep an eye on the armymwr.com/esports website for announcements about future tournaments. Individuals also can watch their battle buddies play monthly on the Army Entertainment Twitch Channel.