In a video released February 16, a League of Legends coach claimed that “girlfriends are ruining the LCS.” The controversial claim has spawned numerous discussions, with people weighing in on both sides of the opinion.
The coach in question, Alberto Rengifo, came down hard against professional League of Legends players being allowed to have girlfriends while they pursue their gaming career. He cites the distractions of “love” as keeping a player from developing their potential as they did before getting in a relationship. He refers to decline of a pro League of Legends player as a “worsening or stagnation in play” due to the relationship.
“As a result, you see a worsening or stagnation in play, but an increase in overall happiness of players, which is quite obviously the complete opposite of what fans want to see.”
The video itself appears to be stilted, with Rengifo’s syntax seeming as if he is delivering a memorized speech or reading off a script. Rengifo is the coach for Apex Gaming, one of the professional League of Legends teams.
So why would Rengifo make this claim about relationships?
Part of the issue faced by professional gamers, not just those playing League of Legends, is the amount of time required to become a member of the truly elite in these games. Players often live together in a team house, and most of their waking hours are spent focused around whichever game they are competing in.
The sheer amount of time required to remain at the top is incredible, and relationships have a tendency to cut into that time. Furthermore, many of these players are young, often in their teens or early 20s, and romantic involvements, especially at this age, can be highly distracting.
Rengifo’s video spawned quite a conversation on Reddit, and another coach eventually weighed in on the discussion. KC Woods, former coach of Team SoloMid, explained his view on the matter.
“This is actually a topic I had to directly deal with quite a bit while coaching. While it sounds funny, I had to actively argue for TSM players to be able to have ‘girlfriend rights.’ I think many teams/coaches see the negative consequences that a player becoming enamored with a girl can cause… less commitment, late nights for reasons other than league, animosity from other players, etc… and think that ‘girlfriends are ruining the LCS’ and try to strictly limit the players ability to have a girlfriend or interact with a girlfriend.”
Woods prefers to take the approach of treating players like capable adults until they prove otherwise. If a relationship is getting in the way of a player’s ability to perform in high-level play, only then would Woods see a need to get involved.
Interestingly, while Rengifo’s stance has some merit based on the concept of an employee-employer relationship. These teams are put together, not to have fun, but to turn a profit. They are businesses, and as such, the players are the employees of that team. If a relationship does, in fact, result in the poor play of an individual, then the company may lose money because of the relationship. As such, the company may need to take action to recoup their losses, either by replacing the player in question or imposing limitations on what they are permitted to do.
Professional gaming is less of a job and more of a lifestyle, but the two end up being closely intertwined. The amount of time needed to be the best, which is expected by the business, and how a player lives are often closely connected.
So what are your thoughts on Rengifo’s video? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!