Wiesbaden Winner
Staff Sgt. Stetson McCallister will compete in the Soldier Showdown V ESports Finals in Frisco, Texas, Dec. 1-2, 2023. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Army Family and MWR) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany - Christmas came a little early for Wiesbaden’s Staff Sgt. Stetson McCallister.

The 30-year-old master gamer from Dickson, Tenn., was among 12 Soldiers worldwide to qualify for the upcoming Soldier Showdown V Esports Finals to be held at the Complexity Gaming Center in Frisco, Texas, Dec. 1-2, 2023. McCallister, with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion, was the only competitor from U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden and one of only four Europe-based players to make the finals.

“I found out two days after the tournament ended on Sept. 30,” said McCallister, who goes by the gaming handle, BlackCatSavage. “I was very excited.”

“I competed last year as well, and I kept looking for it this year. I’m a very competitive person, and I’m passionate about video games,” he said, adding that last year’s experience (having won several games but not making the finals) inspired him to continue this year. Like last year, he earned various prizes while battling for the Best Battle Royale Gamer honors

“I’ve been playing since I was a kid,” starting with his older brother’s Playstation and building his skills on Sega and Nintendo 64 platforms. “I really started playing a lot in high school. When I wasn’t in school or at work I was playing – that was my hobby.”

“I typically play around eight hours on Friday and try to limit myself to Friday,” he said.

“To me gaming is a stress reliever. People need that release for their mental health. … I would definitely say that for any gamer playing improves their comprehensive thinking. You don’t have a lot of time to pick and choose – it takes critical thinking,” McCallister explained, encouraging others to explore the world of gaming – to expand their comfort zones, sense of teamwork and to make new online friends in the gaming world. “Get involved, do something you like and eventually it will be rewarding.”

The avid gamer is also looking forward to welcoming a new family member. He and his German-born wife are expecting their first child in December.

That may change his playing schedule, he said, smiling, but he added that his wife married him knowing that competitive gaming was a major part of his life. “My wife knows I love to do it.”

For now, McCallister is concentrating on the upcoming Soldier Showdown V Dec. 1 and 2 in Texas.

Wiesbaden-based community members ages 18 and above are invited to share in the event during a Watch Party at the Warrior Zone on Clay Kaserne. Free snacks, beverages and giveaways will be featured – starting around 6 p.m. on Dec. 1. The Watch Party will continue on the following day – if Wiesbaden’s own makes it to the final rounds.

Everyone can also follow the action live on Twitch – at https://www.twitch.tv/armyentertainment.