The Balancing Act of Jake Puchero

April 30 2019


Work-life balance.

This three word phrase represents the never ending battle facing all working adults the world over. Especially for those professionals whose jobs require them to publicly perform some feat on a regular basis. People like musicians, athletes, etc.

Esports is an especially tricky industry to maintain a good work-life balance in. It has this uncanny way of bridging the gap between your professional and personal lives. You love the game you play professionally so you also play it at home. You love the scene you’re a part of so you watch the games after work. Some people even take vacation time to go to esports events for fun despite working in the industry all day every day.

The reason why balance is hard to maintain when working in esports is simple. Those working in the scene are doing so because we love it. This article’s author included! So whether you’re a pro gamer, a manager, a CEO, or even a humble content creator, it can be difficult to not blur the lines between work and play.

To Jake Puchero⎼ whom most of you would recognize as Xmithie, the Jungler for our LCS team⎼ splitting his time between the things he loves and the game he’s dedicated to is just natural at this point. But even for Jake this is only a recent development.

Until about 3-4 years ago Jake was all gaming all the time. When he wasn’t playing League he was playing other games. When he wasn’t playing other games he was playing League. But playing games 24-7 was doing him little good. Jake then decided to start focusing on what went on in his life off the rift as heavily as his life on it. Picking back up the old hobbies that drove him as a child was step number one.

So what are the hobbies that keep Jake mentally healthy in his intense work environment? Well, music for starters. Music has been an important part of Jake’s life since childhood and has remained a constant all the way into adulthood. These days you’d be hard pressed to see a headphone-less Xmithie walking around the LCS arena, the AWTF, or even just going about his daily life.

“I usually listen to music in our breaks, before our practice, basically any time we have a break I’m usually continually listening to music.”

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Jake’s musical tastes do tend to vary from week to week. His overall love of music, however, does not. Besides listening to music quite literally whenever he has the time, he also frequently attends various music festivals and concerts. And by frequently we mean as “frequently” as his work schedule will allow.

“Since, like you said, we have LCS I don’t know what festivals or concerts I’m going to until like the day of/day before. We don’t really know if we’re going to qualify for certain things like playoffs or MSI or Worlds so I usually try to buy tickets anywhere from a week before to 2 days before the festival.”

When he’s not listening to others’ Jake is busy making his own music. Jake has been playing guitar since picking it up as a senior in High School.

“I didn’t take any dancing classes but I took one music class one summer. I was really bored and my friends were like ‘hey there is this guitar class here. I know you’re really good at guitar but maybe you can learn something here.’ And I did! It was pretty fun.”
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My baby 😍

A post shared by Jake Puchero (@lolxmithie) on



Which brings us to Jake’s most recently publicized talent: Dancing. Jake’s love of dancing started in a time before most of you young league fans were born.
[*Editor’s note: the author is just as old…]

“I got into dancing just because I did that when I was in elementary school in the Philippines. So, shit, like 17 years ago? 20 years ago? But yeah I just got into it because my friends were into it so since they were into it...actually it's really funny one of the first songs we ever danced to was by Linkin Park or something. Our group was really into Linkin Park and dancing so we just combined them a little bit. It was really bad dancing, but we all enjoyed it!”

Though he stopped after graduating High School to focus on his college studies, and later his esports career, dancing was one of the first hobbies Jake picked back up in recent years. For the similar reasons his dancing is just as limited as his concert going. But Jake still manages to make the most of it.

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“I always take classes in the off season only. The one I go to is a 40 minute drive and then usually their classes are Monday-Friday so I can’t usually go [during the season] since that’s our scrim time. And then their last class is at like 8 so I can’t really make it [after scrims]. So I usually go during the off season. One of my friends is the teacher there, they made the dance studio, so that’s how I managed to get back into dancing.”

The second piece to Jake’s work-life balance puzzle is his support system. He knows that his core group of friends and his fiercely loyal family will always be there to support him. Having people to lean on when he needs them, to vent to without worry, and to hangout with outside the confines of esports has done wonders for Jake.

“[back when] I was gaming 24-7, 3 or 4 years ago, I didn’t really have any close friends that I could talk to. Just 2-3 years ago I started to be more social and to hang out with friends more and stuff. I think it works much better for me since I get less burned out this way.”

The path he’s chosen for himself often prevents Jake from enjoying his hobbies on a more regular basis. But that’s just fine with him. The final piece of Jake’s balance puzzle makes that perfectly clear.

“I think it’s just my personality. I just have a really competitive drive to be the best. I just really hate losing in general so I just want to be the best in whatever I’m doing in that moment. Whether it’s playing games or just trying to improve in dancing or music.”

Jake would gladly pour a majority of his time into League in pursuit of being the best. For as long into the future as possible. But that doesn’t mean that he will only focus League. And with good friends, music, dance, and enough ramen to make Naruto blush ahead of him, Jake’s future is looking bright.




Xmithie的平衡生活之道

工作与生活的平衡。

这几个字代表了全世界工作一族至始至终都需要面对的人生课题。对于那些经常要在公众面前展现出高水准表现的专业人士,比如音乐家、运动员来说,更是如此。

电子竞技是一个尤其难以维持工作与生活平衡的行业。它以一种难以言喻的方式让你很难区隔工作与个人生活之间的距离。你热爱这个游戏,你是职业选手,所以你在家也会玩游戏。你热爱这个产业,你是其中的一员,因此在工作结束后你也会观看比赛。即便每天都在这一行中工作,还是有不少从业人员都还会利用假期时间兴致勃勃地去参加电竞赛事活动。

在电竞行业工作难以达成这种平衡的原因很简单。我们在这个产业工作是出于我们对它的热爱。本文的作者也不例外!所以无论你是职业选手,管理人员还是老板,又或是一名小小的内容作者,你都很难不去混淆工作与游戏之间的界限。

对Jake Puchero——大家眼中的Xmithie,我们LCS战队的打野选手来说,如今他已懂得如何行之有效地将时间分配到他所喜爱的事情,以及为之奋斗的游戏上了。但就算是对Xmithie来说,这也是才掌握不久的技能。

直到三四年以前,Xmithie都还成天都泡在游戏里。他不是在玩英雄联盟,就是在玩其它游戏。不是在玩其它游戏,就是在玩英雄联盟。但是无休止地玩游戏对他并没什么好处。于是Xmithie决定开始对召唤师峡谷内外的生活给予同等的重视。第一步就是要把年少时令他痴迷的旧爱好捡起来。

那么在紧张的工作环境当中,是什么样的爱好让他能够保持良好的心态呢?好吧,首先就是音乐。从年少时开始,音乐就是Xmithie生活当中重要的一部分,并一直延续至今。如今你很难见到没戴耳机的Xmithie 走在LCS场馆,或外星人训练基地,就连日常生活里也很难见到他不戴耳机。

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“通常我在休息的时候,和训练之前会听音乐,基本上一有空我就会听音乐。”

Xmithie的音乐口味每周都会有所不同。不过总体来说,他对于音乐的热爱始终如一。除了一有时间就听音乐之外,他还会经常参加各种各样的音乐节和演唱会。而我们所说的“经常”指的是他日程允许的时候。

“因为,就像你说的,我们有LCS的比赛,只有事到临头了我才能知道我能去哪个音乐节或者演唱会。像季后赛,季中赛还有世界赛,我们无法百分百知道自己最终能走到哪一步,所以我通常都是在音乐节前一周到前两天才试着去买票的。”

没有在听别人音乐的时候,Xmithie也会忙着鼓捣自己的音乐。他从高中时就是吉他高手了。

“我之前没有上过舞蹈课,不过,有一年夏天我上了次音乐课。我当时很无聊,我的朋友跟我说,‘有吉他课呀。我知道你弹吉他很厉害,但或许你能去学到点什么’然后我就去了!那课很有意思。”

这不禁让我们联想到最近Xmithie让为大家熟知的一项才能:跳舞。他对于舞蹈的热爱从多数年轻粉丝还没出生的时候就开始了。
[*Editor’s note: the author is just as old…]
[*编注:本文作者与Xmithie年龄相当...]

“我迷上跳舞是从我在菲律宾上小学的时候。大概,是17年以前了?还是20年?但说真的,我迷上跳舞开始只是因为我的朋友喜欢……事实上,我们一开始跳的曲子中,有首特别有意思,记得那应该林肯公园的。我们非常喜欢林肯公园和跳舞,所以就把它们稍微结合了一下。不过那个舞编的其实挺糟,但是我们都乐在其中。”

虽然在高中毕业之后,为了大学的学业以及随后的电竞生涯他没有再跳了,但是跳舞是最近几年Xmithie捡起来的第一批爱好。出于同样的原因,和演唱会一样,他对于跳舞的热情在比赛面前也需要有所让步。不过Xmithie总能见缝插针地去享受他的热舞时光。

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“通常我只在休赛期的时候会去上课。我的上的那个课要开40分钟的车过去,他们的课大多是周一到周五的,所以(在赛季中时)我没法总去,因为我们要训练。而且他们最晚的课大概是在八点,我也没办法在训练结束之后再去。所以我都是在休赛期去。我有一个朋友就是那里的老师,那是他们的舞蹈工作室,由此我才拥有了重新拾起跳舞的机会。”

Xmithie解决工作和生活平衡难题的第二关键就是他的后援团了。他知道他的死党们,以及他的超级粉丝——家人们总会为他加油鼓劲。在需要的时候有人可以依靠,可以毫无顾忌地去宣泄自己的情绪,并能暂离电竞一起出去玩玩,对Xmithie来说真的是帮助太大了。

“在我整日都在玩游戏的时候,也就是三四年前吧,我当时没有任何可以说说真心话的密友。两三年前,我开始更多地接触人,更多地和朋友出去玩玩什么的。这样做的效果立竿见影,因为我不再有那种总是掏空自己的感觉了。”

Xmithie所选择的这条路让他无法经常沉醉在自己的爱好当中。但这对他来说并不是什么问题。Xmithie应对平衡难题的最后一点秘诀为我们揭晓了答案。

“我觉得我的性格就是如此。我的好胜心很强,这促使我总要做到最好。总的来说我真的非常讨厌失败,所以无论我当下在做什么,我都想成为最好的那个。无论是玩游戏打比赛,还是试图磨练提高自己的舞蹈水准和音乐水平。”

Xmithie 欣然地将自己的大部分精力投入到英雄联盟中,只为能成为最强者。将来他会竭尽全力地在这条路上继续走下去。但是这并不意味着他的眼里只有英雄联盟。在好友、音乐、舞蹈,以及足以让火影忍者都叹为观止的拉面们围绕下,Xmithie的未来看来一片光明。

Writer // Sarah Enders
Translator // Frank Fan






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