An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

One thing I wish I knew about before I started was toxicity in business. I was well aware of toxicity when it came to esports but I was unaware it also existed in other areas of business as well.

As a part of our series about “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In eSports”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Hamlin.

Ron Hamlin of Greenville, South Carolina, is a foster/adoptive dad, and owner of the esports and events company Virtual Reload. He teaches people about competitive video game play. Esports is seen as a form of sports with organized teams, professional coaches and world-class players. The industry provides a brand new experience for younger generations captivated with this new sport. Hamlin unpacks why everyone should take note.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Virtual Reload had the privilege of hosting one of the largest regional Smash Brothers tournaments in South Carolina state history. Nearly 200 players from the region participated. We have ingrained ourselves in the local South Carolina Smase scene, host weekly and monthly tournaments, and act as Tournament Organizers for others in the community.

Connecting with local South Carolina institutions, such as Charter Schools and Private schools, from an overall esports perspective has also been interesting and rewarding. There is a lot of potential within these organizations and we would like to assist them in realizing their potential.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote comes from Philippians chapter 4:6–7: Be at peace and let God know your wishes in everything through prayer, petition, and supplication with thankfulness. Through Christ Jesus, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will keep watch over your hearts and minds. My name is in honor of a distant uncle who passed away at the age of 18 from leukemia. I was in my grandparents’ home after they passed away, browsing through some of the items that were distributed to various family members. And then someone handed me my uncle’s Bible, which was complete with his name inscribed on the cover. And after that, I was permitted to keep that Bible. After looking through it a few times, I saw that it was worn out, outdated, and difficult to read. When I read some of it, I noticed that he had underlined the same sentence.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I mentored a young man named Chris who was a senior in high school and in foster care. He was a talented esports player. I took him to meet the Erskine College esports coach. Chris was offered a substantial scholarship of approximately $20,000 a year to attend Erskine and play esports. Up until that point the idea of a student receiving an esports scholarship was hypothetical to me. This was life changing for the both of us and was the catalyst for bringing what I am doing with Virtual Reload to life.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The book Play Dead had a significant impact on me and Virtual Reload. The synopsis of the story is that technology exists and humans might get engrossed in it. We strive to educate the moderation aspect of esports. We want people to place competitive games but in a structured way. There can be detrimental effects of competitive esports so we strive to make it a positive activity of the participants. The novel Play Dead was an example of how far the detriment can go and the dangers of taking things too far.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Perseverance is the first trait. We have been hosting weekly Smash Bros tournaments and have not always had a great turnout. However, there are times when we will have a great turnout and these efforts lead to hosting one of the largest Smash Regional tournaments in South Carolina state history, the Swamp Rabbit Summit.

Being considerate would be the second trait. We understand that the local Smash Brothers players are keeping an eye on each available event and we try to keep them in mind when hosting each event.

The third trait would be a combination of kindness and acceptance for all who would like to participate in esports.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Virtual Reload has offered many players the opportunity to grow and showcase their talents and create a community of like minded individuals to meet, form relationships and enjoy themselves playing esports. We also hope to utilize Virtual Reload to assist individuals with disabilities through the use of adaptive technology so they too can experience competition at a high level. This will also open doors for them not previously available. Everyone deserves a chance to follow their passions and esports is a great equalizer.

How do you think this might change the world of sports?

At the moment, adaptive technologies excite me the most. Adaptive technologies allow those who may not be able to compete in physical activities, but can compete in esports and open doors for them they would not have access to, such as scholarships for competitive sports.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

One potential drawback would be becoming so engrossed in esports or virtual reality that you neglect the important things in life: family, your personal health, and work or your education. This is a pitfall that has been around for some time, and with esports becoming prevalent at younger ages, we have made it our mission to make sure that we can not only train and educate young people in esports but help them moderate the amount of time and attention they put into esports, so that it remains a healthy extracurricular activity that they can still benefit from.

What are the 3 things that concern you about the sports industry today? Can you explain? What can be done to address or correct those concerns?

My first concern is that esports do not consider the player first. My personal view is that esports companies are too concerned with their bottom line to take the health and well being of the players who play for them or represent them as one of their first priorities.

There is a lot of pressure on players at the highest level of esports to perform, however, they do not have the same level of protection or representation as players in other professional sports leagues. Long term contracts, for example, are few and far between.

Burnout amongst professional esports players is the third concern. Professional esports careers last an average of two years. There should be a way to avoid such churn in the industry. At this point, professional esports players are putting in a substantial amount of work for much less reward than we believe they are owed. We hope to correct this in the future through our efforts with Virtual Reload.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

One thing I wish I knew about before I started was toxicity in business. I was well aware of toxicity when it came to esports but I was unaware it also existed in other areas of business as well.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would inspire a movement to get as many people involved in esports as possible. We started Virtual Reload to help those who unfortunately are unable to achieve scholarships or other opportunities that are currently offered to the athletically gifted. Our focus is on individuals who have other gifts, and should be rewarded for those gifts, in the same manner, but do not have the same opportunity. Our movement would consist of helping create those opportunities and helping those individuals achieve their goals.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Gary Vaynerchuk, also known as Gary Vee, inspires me. I appreciate where he came from, what his goals are, and what he has accomplished. He also owns the Minnesota Rokker, a professional esports team, so it appears he has a basic understanding of esports, and we have something in common. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to meet with him and discuss our work. We could collaborate on improving esports as a whole. His advice would be invaluable.

How can our readers further follow your work online?







Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Ron Hamlin Of Virtual Reload On 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In eSports was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Recommended Posts