Stephen Javaruski isn’t your typical Esport streamer, but he believes that there are more positives to the sport than just making money playing a video game.
While Esports isn’t the traditional sport, its growth and popularity over the past few years has been absurd. For Javaruski, better known as his PlayStation handle @IMSTEVEYJ, he first became a Pro Madden player in 2016.
“I went to my first tournament in Madden 16 at the Amway Center,” Javaruski said. “I won the PS4 side of the tournament and got $2,500 and that was fun. I told myself, “Oh, wow, I can really do this.”
Prior to winning his first tournament, Javaruski played casually and would watch YouTube videos of his favorite madden players. He would go from online tournament to online tournament and learned how to play the game competitively.
Following his win, he took the game more seriously and watched more videos on the game and learned about the game of football. However, his favorite part of the experience has been meeting other competitors.
“I started meeting other competitors on Twitch and Twitter and we would eventually go to tournaments together,” Javaruski said about the Madden community. “It’s kind of like a fraternity, some of those guys are some of my closest friends. I came in for the competition, but i’ve stayed for the friendship and team aspect as well.”
Currently playing under the Esports team Noble, Javaruski is partnered with the popular video game streaming site Twitch. However, unlike other major professional Esports players, Javaruski does not partake in that aspect of the sport.
“It wasn’t for me,” Javaruski said of his view on streaming. “Interacting with random people on the internet constantly and having them judge you isn’t for me. When I play I like to relax and I don’t have to have a persona on the whole time.”
Regardless of his lack of streaming, Javaruski has a career winning earnings of over $10k and has won four tournaments including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers club tournament in 2018 and the Buffalo Bills in 2019.
For Javaruski, nothing is more valuable than competing and making friends. Esports continues to grow and those who compete are athletes, and nothing proves that more than how Javaruski describes himself.
“I’m not an entertainer, i’m a competitor.”