GeT_RiGhT: "I always gambled with my health, but this time I will also gamble with my legacy"
We spoke to Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund about his departure from NIP, working as an analyst, and what drives him back to competing in an interview conducted during the ECS Season 8 Finals in Arlington, Texas.
Ahead of the start of the grand final match between Astralis and Liquid at the ECS Season 8 Finals, we sat down and talked with GeT_RiGhT who attended the event as an analyst, branching into on-camera work for the first time.
GeT_RiGhT shed some light on his last months in NIP, admitting that he should've quit the team after the Major as the whole team was caught in "a bad loop" since the future of the roster was uncertain. After sharing some impressions about working as an analyst, the Swede reiterated that his "priority is always going to be playing" and proceeded to explain why he insists on returning to competition, no matter the cost.
What have you been up to since you stopped playing for NiP? You were in North America for a few weeks, but what was the deal with GeT_RiGhT for the last couple of months?
Ever since I left the team I felt kind of lost, to be honest. I was thinking if I fought hard enough to stay in the team and if quitting the team was the correct decision. I was feeling uncertain about my future. The situation [within NiP], I think all of the players, including myself, we were in kind of a bad loop, no one knew what was happening with me.
Going back to when the first news came out, I got to know maybe two weeks before the official news, and I was fine with it from the beginning. I accepted to play Cologne and the Major and then eventually it became a little bit more and sometimes it felt like I'm staying, sometimes it felt like I'm not staying - it was a bad period. And I think it was on me and on everyone. It was kind of a weird situation, looking back at it I understand why I was also kind of angry at the whole situation because I felt lost as a person and as a player but I can't really judge them.
I feel that other people, who weren't in the team, were also judging the players in the team because dennis got cut at the same time when I was informed my spot was not safe. It was just a very weird situation, also with dennis, I don't know what happened to him, just that the same day I got the call he was also cut. I got to extend my stay a little bit, but I was also asked if I could play in those tournaments and I said yes, "whatever you guys need I'll do it". But after the two tournaments, I believe I should've probably left because the team was in the position that they needed another player instead of me and I felt like I didn't belong there anymore, in a way. So there was a lot of mixed emotions, my anger with the situation, sadness that I had been playing in NiP for so long, but also, I was eager to move on. Nothing is going to be there forever.
It is still a little bit sad because I haven't talked about it and I haven't really thought about it in a long time, at least in the two months now since I haven't been playing with the team anymore. But the break itself has been very good for me, it helped me a lot on a lot of levels.
What is it like to not be an active player after playing for so long? pronax recently said that he felt lost because when you wake up, you don't have the grind to go to. What is that part like for you?
I don't know how it was for him, I don't know pronax that well but I can understand him to some extent. But for me, I got taught by father who works a lot with my brand and in esports, that when I take this route of just playing — and I've been doing this for such a long time — I always try to have a lot of other things to do. Even when I was playing actively, I always had other things that were interesting to me. Alongside that, I played a little bit, not as much as when I was practicing because that was a lot more hours, but at least enough to not feel lost.
But the break was good in a lot of ways because I also felt that I've been lost, in general, over the whole year, for a lot of reasons even outside of the game. So it was a good break because I needed to work on those things outside of the game. It was needed, very very needed.
Overall, I was streaming, I was playing, hanging out with my friends, trying to catch up with people I haven't met in a long time, those that are far away. I also wanted to be more impulsive, like, I want to go and see other places I've maybe been to before but not really explored because of playing tournaments. So I met a lot of people, I was leaving Sweden for two or three days and then coming back... it has been a very interesting period in general. I worked on my personal brand, streaming, recently I started renovating my apartment (laughs) - I've been busy when you look at it, maybe you can't really see it from the outside but that is also because I want to be private in some parts.
How did you get into this analyst gig for ECS? Was this something you were attracted to for a longer time?
It is quite interesting, it ties into the last question where I said that I wanted to be more impulsive and if someone gives me an opportunity, instead of always saying no, which I've been doing for the last couple of years, I told myself I need to do it at least one time while they are still asking me. I'm surprised by how many times I've actually been asked, I've also been asked to do Majors which in my books is still really weird (laughs). I'm very flattered by the offers to do those things, but at the same time I don't have the experience. I have the experience of playing but I don't have the experience of being in front of the camera and actually talking...
These were Major a bit back, in 2017?
After that even, I think it was 2017 and 2018, two different Majors, and it was quite interesting especially when it was ELEAGUE. But in general, going into this event, Bardolph asked me a couple of weeks ago, a little bit more, and I didn't accept it right away because I was still like "I don't want to do this, I'm not familiar with it" - I came up with all of the excused I always did. But then I thought "Chris, come on, just try it out and see how it goes. If you are horrible, then you know for sure you are not going to do it again".
Going into this, all the talent, the people around it, you get a new perspective of how things work, how long days can be, how it feels for them to sit in the green room and watch a game for like three hours straight and then jump from the seat, some have so many notes, some don't take notes and have it all in their head, they go up and they perform to the level they do.
I mean, I noticed from the years of watching that there are errors here and there and I was like "Why are they talking about this?". But now I understand it more, there is so much information when you come in and I mean, I do a lot of hiccups here and there, I know, and my first language is not English, I know that is also an issue. The good thing is that I have a lot of experience and knowledge but I still feel kinda lost when I'm standing there on the stage sometimes. I'm nervous, 100%, but it is all good, to be honest. I actually enjoyed it and I felt like it was fun. It is still fun, it's the last day now, I'm looking forward to the final and I hope I do much better than on the first day. Also, I feel small improvements in myself and the talent is helping me so much with it, I'm very thankful for everyone helping me out.
Would you do more desks in the future, is that an option for you?
I'll at least be more open to the idea than I was before. Before, I always closed the door directly when they asked me, I'd just be: "No". I'm going to be open to it but it would also be a little bit better to get a little bit of feedback. The talent, I know them from before so I'm going to take in that feedback, but it is hard for me coming from being a player where I have the mentality that I can't read everything people are saying on the internet because that will mindf*ck me and I'll feel very bad about myself if I perform badly.
So I don't know how I'll deal with it, maybe I'll do a reddit post or a Twitlonger like "hey, give me more feedback, I'd like to see what you liked and didn't like". I know I had an issue when I had the small segment at BLAST, where I said "what not" too many times (laughs), I also heard that I say "like" too much, but I don't know, all analysts and casters have their small things you hear all the time, so maybe I shouldn't listen to it too much. But I'll take any feedback that comes in. In the future, I'll be more open and if it works with my schedule maybe I'll do it, but I always want to play so my priority is always going to be playing.
What do you still want to accomplish as a player? You did practically everything, individually you were the best player of the year, as a team you still hold some records, you won a Major - what do you still want to accomplish that drives you back to playing?
It has been around five months since things turned around for me in the team. Me, as a human being, knowing that I was lost, I needed this slap in the face to really be like: "Hey, step up. Be the person you were known for before, be the person you are proud of." Because I'm a proud person, I am proud of myself. I know that I have a lot of hiccups in my personal life, in the game, all that kind of stuff, but I take it in as an experience. You live and you learn.
But with the last five months, I feel a hunger that I haven't felt in a long time. I know I've probably said that already through the years, but I felt like last year, during the FACEIT Major cycle, I gave everything to qualify and that cost a lot of my health. That was really bad (laughs), I lost like 20 kilograms, I was just a ghost. I think, in a way, I will always prioritize playing and I'll always go against my health which I know is the stupidest thing you can do, and I know a lot of people who give me so much shit for it, even people that I don't know that much either, but they see it on me, they see how I am and how I change. But I'm always going to gamble with my life, in a way, because I love this game, I love this industry, I love all the people around it, and I will hopefully always be here.
Since I changed my mindset of being more impulsive, saying yes more, seeing more opportunities outside of just playing, enjoying life itself more, I see that the one missing piece is still to compete. To have practice, have those annoying hours of trying new things, going to deathmatch for an hour without even really having a reason why. That kind of stuff. I feel more energy, more hunger, more motivation. I'm not really thinking that I want to go back to being the best player, the best team, right now I just want to get back into it. Feel the pressure of "hey, you are here, show everyone once again that you are here for a reason and that you should be here".
That is my next year's motivation and that is the thing I've been waiting to do for two-three months. I'm just waiting to get back into it. I mean, I did an almost 24-hour stream of playing CS, non-stop PUGs - it was ridiculous how fun it was. As the pronax meme goes, "pure yoy". And I missed that thing, I think I lost it during this year and I want to get back. I'm holding it at the moment, now I just have to share it and become the person that I want to.
Certain people within the community have this sentiment about legends playing out too far into their career, implying that they should retire before they become bad. I think NEO is an example people talk about a lot in that way, you as well, that by not retiring when you start going downwards you are losing your legends status or something along those lines. What are your thoughts on that, do you think it is a fair thing to say?
I guess, in a way. But as a human being and someone that knows myself — but also lost myself a lot of times —, I know that I always gambled with my health, which I already said, but I think that this time I will also gamble with my legacy. And I'll do it any given day to get to where I want to be. If that means I won't be the legendary player I was or someone people talk about highly anymore, then so be it. Because I love this game too much and I love everything around it, and I don't want to get to a point where I feel I can't play anymore. I think I will explain more about it in the future when I think I have all of the answers, or maybe the right answers for people. Because I know that after this interview I will probably get even more shit. I don't know why people love to give me shit, but they don't know me so it is all good.
But going back to it, if they say I'm risking losing everything - am I though? I'm actually getting more offers than I have during the last three-four years, not just only playing. More playing offers, more outside of the game offers, more stop playing, move to another continent and do other things offers, which is amazing. So what am I really gambling with? Yes, I see the gambling in terms of the CS circle, but I think everyone else outside of it will probably say: "yeah he did this and that and then tried to do it again and maybe failed miserably, or maybe he was even more successful with it". It doesn't really matter, at the end of it all I'm just a human being that loves whatever I'm doing.