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  • Zaharakis tried proposing classes that could coincide with his love for gaming. Things like pulling him out of choir to take art classes or pursue game design at Full Sail University in Florida.

    "To see him talk about that, he lit up like a Christmas tree," Zaharakis said.

    But at home, Mella was trying to control SPACE's gaming habits, to little avail.

    "I would hide the keyboard, hide the mouse," she said. "I couldn't hide the big computer. But every day, I would think of new places to hide the equipment so he wouldn't find it."

    Either way, with the extra time, SPACE was able to compete and rise the ranks more quickly. That's also when he started gaining the attention of major esports teams. SPACE caught the eye of Cloud9, and the organization sent him and Mella to Germany to represent it at Overwatch Contenders Season One. That experience helped Mella look at competitive gaming from a different perspective.

    It helped that there was some prize money involved, too.

    "That was when I first knew that he was actually able to make money from playing a video game," Mella said. "I was like, 'Oh, what? $1,200? Really?'"

    SPACE started getting offers to play Overwatch professionally. Teams wanted his talent and were willing to give him a salary, room and board and tournament winnings.

    "I felt like this is such an opportunity for him financially, I didn't want [him] to pass [it] up," Mella said.

    There was no way SPACE could finish high school and still compete, though. So despite her feelings on the matter, Mella let him move on.

    SPACE eventually signed with the Los Angeles Valiant and made an agreement with his mom to get his GED by taking online classes.

    For a few months, SPACE had to just practice with his team while waiting to turn 18, the minimum age required to start competing in the Overwatch League. He turned 18 on March 29, and the following week made his debut against Seoul Dynasty. It was a breakout performance where he helped his team absolutely demolish Seoul in a 4-0 victory.

    Mella was stuck in New York at the time but watched intently online. SPACE's father, however, was able to attend, and saw it as the ultimate "I told you so" to those who doubted that his son could ever go pro or compete with the best Overwatch players in the world.

    Mella says she will get her chance to watch SPACE at Blizzard Arena soon. She plans to fly out this summer to see her son play live.

    "It's so funny how things happen because this game was a sore spot for Indy and I for so long," Mella said. "I never imagined he would be where he is now with https://www.mmoah.com/madden-mobile
  • 5/29/18 at 1:00 AM -
    3/20/20 at 1:00 AM
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