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From meme to dream: an interview with Fortnite pro ‘Sparebow’ cover image

From meme to dream: an interview with Fortnite pro ‘Sparebow’

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Esports.gg sits down with Fortnite pro ‘Sparebow’ to discuss his intro into gaming, iconic DreamHack Anaheim 2020 stream, and more.

Professional Fortnite player Gerard 'Sparebow' Gimenez is one of only a handful who has stuck with the game for the last five years. Although he refers to himself as a “niche micro celebrity,” Sparebow is a name known by many in the competitive Fortnite space. He went viral in 2020 for vibing out to music during the DreamHack Anaheim Fortnite Finals. Since then, he’s continued to perform well at LAN events and offers interesting takes about the past, present, and future of Fortnite.
Esports.gg had the chance to speak with Sparebow, where we discussed his intro to gaming, recent Fortnite tournament experiences, the iconic DreamHack Anaheim 2020 tournament, how he would structure future competitions, and much more. So, let’s dive into the mind of NA East professional Fortnite player Sparebow.

How Sparebow got into gaming and decided to become a professional Fortnite player

How did you first get into gaming? What sorts of games did you play before Fortnite? 

Sparebow: “I first got into gaming with Minecraft. I don’t know why. I think it’s because my friend had Minecraft, and he showed me, and I was like, ‘I really want to play this.’ I played it on Xbox originally, and then I went to a laptop and then to my old PC that I still have with me to play Overwatch. I went from Minecraft to Overwatch and got close to top 500 when I was around 12 years old. From there, I went to Rainbow Six and hit the top rank of Diamond, and then I quit for Fortnite.”

Tell me about your first time playing Fortnite. What did you like about the game, and at what point did you decide to pursue a professional career path?

Sparebow: “I played Fortnite the first day of release. I don’t know, it was just cool, it was a cool game, and I just chilled with friends, and it was nice. I wanted to go pro when ‘step one,’ nobody really remembers step one; it was a scrim cord, but I saw people playing it, like the pros, and I just really wanted to be extremely good like Ninja, Tfue, and them. 
They were just so talented, and I wanted to be like that and compete, mostly because of the Summer Skirmishes. So, I started playing in step one, played some FNPL, and competed since then.”

On becoming a meme during the DreamHack Anaheim Finals

You qualified for the DreamHack Anaheim Finals back in 2020. What do you remember about the lead-up to that tournament and how you decided to attend?

Sparebow: “I was just a degenerate before DreamHack. I wasn’t the nicest guy. I was talking smack to everyone, and I didn’t really care. I had $400 earned at the time, so I was just known for smack-talking everybody I could. I barely did good, but then DreamHack came around. Everybody knew who I was below the pro scene from Atlantis scrims.”

You became famous during the Finals for jamming out to music on your live stream, which became a memorable moment. What led to you ultimately deciding to crank up your music in the Finals?

Sparebow: “I was getting 100 viewers day one of the [DreamHack] tournament. Nobody knew who I was. I qualified day one with flying colors. Day two came around for the semi-finals, and people knew who I was. Bugha was watching me, and more people were like, ‘Oh, I’ve heard of that guy. Let me watch him and see how he’s doing.’ 
I think I got 97th or something, and then finals came around. Everybody thought the music was really loud, but it wasn’t that loud for me. Everything else was so much louder. So I never meant to troll–I didn’t troll the whole time. I was actually playing to my fullest ability, but no one believed that.
I was a pretty immature kid, and I had no thoughts in my head. I really didn’t care. I was blasting music, smack-talking everybody, and I was contested by like three people. I just played how I normally did, and I was young, so I had no boundaries.”

What was your biggest takeaway from the event?

Sparebow: “I have two responses. The first was like, ‘oh, this is pretty cool, and I had fun. That’s about it. Now, later in time now that I’m older and understand it more, I’m like, ‘damn, that was a big opportunity and gave me what I needed. Without that, I wouldn’t be here.”

Would you have done anything different looking back on the experience?

Sparebow: “No. I think I needed it. I look back now, and I’m like, ‘damn, I was really bad.’ I played my cards wrong throughout the tournament, but if I could say anything about that, it would be that I should have done more content right after, but no regrets about the tournament.”

Post-DreamHack history & thoughts about Fortnite competitive

Tell us about your recent travels and experiences at DreamHack Atlanta and Sweden.

Sparebow: “The tournaments themselves were fun, as always, you know. Didn’t get the best results in both tournaments I went to through the last four months. I did go to Sweden and Atlanta for both DreamHacks. I made Finals for both but didn’t do the best, but the traveling was bad.”
I had flight issues mainly, a lot of flight issues. My flight got delayed a whole week later, coming back from Sweden, and had to stay in New York. The trip from Atlanta was fine. 
We had issues transferring my PC as well. My PC broke twice coming back from Sweden and Atlanta. The graphics card broke the first time, and the second time it got fried, but I had a warranty, so it was fine.”

What is it about DreamHack LAN events that bring out the best in you as a player?

Sparebow: “I don’t know why, but like during FNCS, I try my hardest, but there’s something about DreamHacks. It just gets me more fired up. I think the reason I get more fired up is that it’s an in-person event. The idea of winning a game with 50 people behind you, the emotions are at an all-time high. I can’t get that during an FNCS, like, oh, I win a game, and my dad says, ‘good job.’ I’d rather have 50 people behind me screaming. I think that’s what gets me more riled up for DreamHacks more than anything.”

Does the recent FNCS announcement make you want to perform better in the upcoming FNCS tournaments in case you could qualify for a LAN?

Sparebow: “No doubt. Last time, LANs weren’t fully promised. Now that we are 100% going to have LAN events, I want to do the best possible to qualify for that LAN event.”

How do you feel about Fortnite’s evolution over time and the current season?

Sparebow: “There’s not much to like about the new Chapter. The new season, it’s okay. The future of competitive looks better, though. The new season is kind of disappointing for what we were expecting, but we can’t do anything about it. The only thing I’ll say is that they keep the same foundation, like, you can build in the game no matter what. Even though we have Zero Builds, we can still build, and that’s all that matters."

Do you miss anything about the Chapter 1/Chapter 2 times?

Sparebow: “I miss the money, of course, but that's about it. People are like, ‘oh, I miss the good old days.’ I don’t know. It was whatever. It was just another season. There was nothing special. Previous seasons were pretty bad for the game, like the Stark season [Chapter 2 Season 4], but that season was so terrible. Everybody had the legendary SPAS, and it was so bad. I don’t really miss anything.”
the FNCS Invitational venue
the FNCS Invitational venue

If you could script out the next two years of competitive Fortnite, what would you like to see in terms of formats, game modes, and online and in-person tournaments?

Sparebow: “We had extremely good numbers for the Invitational for what everyone was expecting. It surpassed everybody’s expectations. They promoted the first LAN event very badly. The fact that we had that many viewers for that bad of promotion was amazing. If I were Epic, I would promote the next tournament even more. If I had to change competitive, I wouldn’t do Elite Cups this season. 
I feel like having Elite Cups and the FNCS is very bad because it takes away from FNCS and how you qualify. If I could change the format, I would go back to the old FNCS weeks like trios, where we had it for the whole year. That was a very good format. There was money in the finals, making everyone want to play good, but even if there was no money, the top five going to grands was good enough. Having that motivation to do good in finals and not grief because you’re already in dead last is good.
I would do LANs every six months–you’d have two FNCS events and then qualify for the LAN. You play, build some hype, and then you have the big year-end tournament like League [of Legends] does. There’s a whole year of tournaments to qualify for Worlds, and there’s a big tournament with extreme production value, a nice arena, sold-out seats, and promotion.”

Sparebow's experiences with esports orgs & advice to aspiring Fortnite pros

Fortnite image. Image via Epic Games.
Fortnite image. Image via Epic Games.

You have held contracts with multiple esports organizations over the years. What have been your positive and negative experiences?

Sparebow: “I mean, the negatives are also positives. Having the support is both a positive and a negative because they give you support at the beginning when you join, and then they don’t give you anymore after a while. It’s like weird, but it does happen. I’ve heard numerous players say it happens to them. The main positive is just getting the content stuff. They fully support you with content. 
They’ll pay for your editors and thumbnails, which is really good. Another positive would be the ‘family,’ but I haven’t felt that. All the orgs I have been in have been a miss, mostly for different issues. I would say having the possibility of building a family in an org is a positive. Of course, the money, but I feel like the money only gets you so far because you could be in an org getting paid good money, but if you don’t feel like you belong, it’s not the best.”

What advice would you offer to a player who wants to become a professional Fortnite player?

Sparebow: “No life. That’s the only response I can give. If you’re 100% serious, you have to stop doing whatever you're doing in your normal life. You can’t half-try. You have to put in full effort. It’s stupid to say and mean, but you have to cut out your social life fully. You have to live and breathe the game if you want to even catch up, especially if you start now, where everybody is years ahead of you. 
You have to cut out your social life and accept that, for the first year, you’re not going to do that good unless you’re a prodigy. I have faced those issues, trying to keep a social life, school, gym, and playing the game. It’s really hard to balance if you’re trying to be the best.”
FNCS Invitational trophy
FNCS Invitational trophy

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year as a professional Fortnite player?

Sparebow: “Nothing money-wise. I want to win, of course. I really want to win a LAN. That’s my top goal, and it’s all I want to do. I just want to see how it feels. I don’t care about the money. Of course, the money is a plus, but I just want to feel the emotions after you win a game on LAN. Let’s say you’re down, neck-and-neck in game six, and you need to win the game. 
I want to see how that feels. That’s the main goal I have for this year. To meet people I’ve played with for years at a LAN. Like, playing with my teammate, that I’ve known for months. How does that feel? Winning a game next to him in person.”
You can follow Sparebow on Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, and YouTube at those links, and keep an eye out for the NA East player in upcoming online and in-person Fortnite tournaments!
Stay tuned to esports.gg for more Fornite news and updates!
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Filed Under

Matthew "MJP" Pryor
Matthew "MJP" Pryor
Editor | Twitter @MJP_FN
Matt “MJP” Pryor began following esports in 2008 when Halo 3 was on top of the world. He is now a Fortnite fanatic who has watched the game’s casual and competitive development since the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. Matt plays the game often while reporting on everything from skin collaborations to tournaments and everything in between.