It was a once in a lifetime experience.
When Jabbz joined Team Liquid as an analyst and coach in Sept. 2020, the thought of ever having to play for them probably never crossed his mind. He did have five years of experience as a pro under his belt, but his role was to use that to help Liquid thrive.
As fate would have it, Boxi was forced to leave the Lima Major right before the upper bracket finals due to a medical emergency, and Jabbz was the only person available.
Unfortunately for them, Liquid lost that series against Gaimin Gladiators. They did, however, bounce back in the lower bracket final against Talon Esports, only to lose against Gaimin Gladiators in the Dota 2 final.
Given the circumstances, it was still an impressive performance. Jabbzs transition from teacher to player played a part in that, but it took a toll on him. After the event, the stress just came crashing down on me, and now Im trying to recover. It was mentally taxing, he said during an interview with Monster Energy on March 22.
That being said, he described it as the craziest experience hes ever hadin a good way due to the incredible Peruvian crowd. The crowd shouting and chanting made it feel like we were playing in a football stadium, he laughed.Screengrab via Team Liquid on YouTube
It did add to the nerves, though. Hed only ever played in small LANs, so it was the first time he had to do it in front of a massive crowd, which made him nervous. In fact, it got so bad the night before his first game, he was barely able to sleep. But with the support of his team, he was able to overcome them and felt quite calm on stage and in games.
Still, doubt got the better of him at times. During the losses, he felt awful for not being able to do the things Boxi could do. The win against Talon, however, was a totally different story. Winning the lower bracket final on the main stage was an unreal experience. Hearing the crowd chant my name was surreal. I never would have thought that would ever happen to me.
Liquid hasnt been able to hit their stride again since the shake-up, even after Boxis return. Theyre equal third in the DPC WEU 2023 Tour Two: Division One with four wins and three losses, but it isnt the worst spot to be in.
Plus, now Jabbz is back in the coaching role, theyre in good hands.