In a time when parents around the world are becoming increasingly concerned about how much time their children are spending in front of the computer screen playing popular video games like Fortnite, one Canadian father is sparking controversy for supporting his son’s eSports career, going as far as pulling him out of school so he could dedicate more time to video games.
Dave Herzog, a 49-year-old entrepreneur from Sudbury, Canada, has been “breeding” his son, Jordan, for an eSports career for over a decade.
A longtime gamer himself, Dave claims that he put a gaming controller in his son’s hands when he was just three years old, and it didn’t take long for him to show that he had a true gift for gaming.
By age 7, he was already a skilled Halo player, and at age 10 he was already dominating local gamers that Dave himself had put him in contact with. But it was when Jordan won his first Halo tournament, which earned him $2,000 worth of gaming apparel, that Dave Herzog realized his son could make a career out of it.
“A light-bulb went off,” Dave recently told The Boston Globe. “Once he started winning, it was easy to go all in.”
16-year-old Jordan “Crimz” Herzog is already one of the world’s most successful Fortnite players, and having qualified for this year’s World Fortnite Championship along with 200 other players from around the world, he stands to win a share of the $30 million prize pool. But while his father claims he has an innate gift for gaming, his success isn’t all talent. Jordan spends between 8 to 10 hours every day playing Fortnite, eats in front of his computer so he can watch YouTube videos and talk with his teammates, and attends school classes online, so he doesn’t loose too much time away from the keyboard.
Dave Herzog took Jordan out of school last year, over the initial protests of his mother, and doesn’t regret his decision one bit. In fact, after Jordan qualified for this year’s main Fortnite tournament, he emailed his old school to let them know how much money Jordan stands to make if he places well enough. There was some controversy surrounding his decision, with people accusing him of child abuse, but he claims it’s only a matter of perception. If it was sports or piano, people would be fine with it, but because it’s video games, it’s abuse, he says.
The 49-year-old admits that because of his lifestyle, Jordan may not experience the life of a regular teenager, but the reward is apparently worth the sacrifices.
“I’m not an idiot,” Dave said. “I know there’s social interactions that you, me, most people had that he’s going to miss out on, but he’s got a major moment right now, and we’ve got to take advantage of it.”
As for Jordan, he feels lucky to have a father that supports him the way Dave does. He himself is aware that his mission out on a lot of things, like sitting around with his friends at school, but he has come to see this as a necessary sacrifice. His goal is to make enough money to not have to work for most of his life, and if that means spending most of his time in his room playing video games, then so be it.
“Friends come and go and stuff, but this could be my career and my entire future,” Jordan told The Boston Globe.
Crimz has so far earned around $60,000 from gaming, which his father plans to invest on his behalf, but this is only the beginning. Dave believes his son has the chance to build a lucrative career for himself, one that comes with fame, pride and earnings that could one day reach into the millions.