Chicagoan Solomon Smith spent quarantine becoming a pro gamer

Just two years after deciding to become a pro gamer, Solomon Smith IV has made it to the world stage, the 2022 Call of Duty Mobile World Championship.

In June 2020, when the pandemic was gaining momentum and everyone was attending Zoom sessions, Smith was seriously considering picking up his mobile device and becoming a professional gamer.

“I spent a semester at Chicago State University after high school, and I didn’t have a lot of motivation for school at the time,” he said. was there.”

Since then, Smith has competed in numerous tournaments. On December 18, his team, Luminosity Gaming, placed him second at the World Championships in Raleigh, North Carolina, earning a total of $280,000 in prize money. After saving some of his winnings, Smith is about to buy his first car, but he still needs to get his driver’s license.

For Smith, also known as Solo, ‘Call of Duty’ has always been an interest since he was a child.

“I grew up watching other Call of Duty games other streamers and YouTubers were playing. ‘ said the 19-year-old. – year-old Humboldt Park resident. “I definitely liked watching it grow and it made a lasting impression, so I tended to play it. But I consider myself a pretty good player compared to the time I’ve played.”

The son of artist, poet and organizer Lesle Honoré and brother of artist Sage Smith, Smith began playing video games with his uncle around the age of nine, according to his mother. (His favorite game is Lego Star Wars.

Smith’s prowess in playing the first-person shooter at the 2021 World Championships surprised others. Former rival Carlos Butalid, aka Image, recalls Smith’s skill as being so impressive that he was the only player to win the title when Smith was forming the Toronto-based five-member Luminosity team. adopted.

“The Solomon team beat us on the North American stage. What was really impressive was that Solomon was the key to the team winning. I did…and was taken down by a team that had only one superstar, and that superstar was unknown.

For those who didn’t play much before the pandemic, Smith’s aggressive playstyle has given him a bit of a notoriety. recognized by

“The amount of time I play games is every day, but it varies from day to day,” says Smith. “Sometimes I play a really ridiculously long session of 10 hours, and some days it’s 4 hours. That’s the average.”

Smith estimates he has practiced and trained for 200 days since he picked up his phone or iPad to play Call of Duty Mobile professionally. Now he is a salaryman paid once a month.

Smith plans to create more content and expand its streaming reach beyond what it does on the Trovo video game streaming platform. He’s been working on putting up instructional videos on his YouTube channel and is focused on taking home a championship win before finally returning to college to earn his bachelor’s degree. I don’t know if his college career intersects with the game, but at the moment he’s focused on winning his first place at the World Championships. If college takes a few more years to get into the picture, that’s fine.

“Our job as parents is to help our children find their way, not ours,” Honore said. No, but life knows, and its wisdom will always have a place to help them, but if we don’t find a way to honor their passion, they won’t be able to access it.”

Smith was the only black man among 16 teams to compete at the 2022 International Championship. But given the ease of access to the game (because you can play the entire game without paying), he knows other black players are looking to compete on this scale.

19-year-old Solomon Smith IV had his sister Sage Smith comb his hair before the game on Dec. 22, 2022.

“Anyone can do it as long as they play the game and get good at it,” said Smith. “I feel like video games aren’t being pushed too hard in the black community. … Competitively, I don’t think making money is the biggest option being considered. It’s a very risky option.”

Smith’s advice to anyone wanting to get into the world of professional gaming? Play as best you can physically and try to be better every day than you were yesterday. That’s what Smith lives and breathes.

“It’s definitely progressive in nature, so your hard work pays off,” he said. you will get it.”

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