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In the fast-paced realm of esports, where every move counts, and victory hangs in the balance, 1st Lt. Garrett Stanfill, a Wyoming Army National Guard Soldier, has forged his path from a Gameboy enthusiast to a triumphant player in Overwatch for the U.S. Army Esports team.
Stanfill has been a Wyoming Guard member for over 10 years. Starting with the reserve officer training corps program at the University of Wyoming, he commissioned in 2017 as a second lieutenant. Stanfill serves as a traditional guard Soldier one weekend a month as the logistics officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery Regiment. Currently, he works full-time with the Wyoming Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion as head of the esports program in Wyoming.
“I became interested in video games at a young age with the Gameboy Color,” Stanfill said. “I put most of my gaming during high school and college to the side to focus on academics.” His passion for video gaming, specifically Overwatch, resurfaced after graduating college.
It was in 2020 that Stanfill received a mass email from the U.S. Army Esports program where he saw “Overwatch,” a game he is particularly good at, and decided to join. After countless hours of practicing and honing his skills, he joined the Overwatch team in 2022.
Stanfill’s journey is multifaceted, with roles ranging from team coordination and management to shout-casting, streaming, and organizing tournaments. Overcoming challenges became a cornerstone of his esports experience – refining skills and enduring multiple tryouts before earning a spot as a player. According to Stanfill, transitioning from a fixed to a growth mindset marked a pivotal personal hurdle, symbolic of the resilience required in competitive gaming.
In professional online gamine, teamwork is a requirement to be successful.
“In Overwatch, you have a five-man team, and everyone has a different role,” he said. As a support player, Stanfill’s healing and tactical abilities are vital. “Coordination with teammates, including tanks and damage players, is crucial for success. The team must move and strategize together to secure victories.”
But with teamwork inevitably comes conflict.
According to Stanfill, not everyone has the same perspective on every situation, which can sometimes cause conflict. However, these conflicts are addressed by analyzing replays and discussing perspectives. Understanding each other’s views is crucial. Improving communication and fostering a common operating picture help overcome challenges. Open dialogue and a commitment to continuous improvement can resolve most conflicts.
Communication is paramount. Specific players handle designated callouts, ensuring efficient communication during a fast-paced game. Abbreviations and terms unique to the team facilitate quick exchanges. Clear communication is a crucial factor for success.
Teamwork, communication, and adaptability are all essential aspects of being a Soldier in the Army. These are necessary for missions to succeed.
These aspects are paramount in esports, where Stanfill takes these skills and adapts them to succeed at the highest levels. From battling on a Gameboy to leading championship-winning teams, his journey is a testament to the evolving landscape of competitive gaming within the military ranks.