Summoner Spotlight Series: Crickett’s early life struggles led to a new purpose

 
 
 
 
 
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 Cody Aebischer (left), Blake Swarnes (right) and Chad meeting Trick2g, a popular League streamer

Cody Aebischer (left), Blake Swarnes (right) and Chad meeting Trick2g, a popular League streamer

 
 Chad (front center) and the United as ONE group

Chad (front center) and the United as ONE group

 
 Chad (second from right) graduating from Oklahoma State University May 2015

Chad (second from right) graduating from Oklahoma State University May 2015

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“Cricket? Nobody understands cricket! You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket!” –Raphael, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990

Much like the iconic quote from Raphael, Chad “Crickett” Crockett is an enigma to those outside of his inner circle. Born in Tulsa, Okla., and raised in Stillwater, Okla., measuring in at 5 feet 3 inches tall, Chad’s demeanor is quiet and contemplative, but not to be confused with meek. His personality is inviting and friendly, but stern enough to make him an effective admin of the Oklahoma League of Legends Facebook page, where he served from Fall 2013 – Summer 2016. As an early contributor to the growth and success of the OKLOL page, Chad fits the profile of those worthy to be featured as a Summoner Spotlight.

Chad, 26, started playing video games before he could even walk – who needs walking when you can have a controller in your hand? His older brother, Shane, cultivated his love of video games starting with the original Nintendo, and his console days continued until his pre-teen years. Chad and Shane saved up for their first computers early on, and since then, things have never been the same.

“I was introduced to Diablo II when I was about 10, and that finished off console gaming for me,” Chad said. “The PC was a whole new world of gaming – better game options, graphics, the ability to play online with people all over the world. The last time I played a console for a long period of time was when I played God of War while my wife was pregnant with our first son in 2010. I have an easier time connecting with my friends through the computer, so it’s PCMasterRace for me.”

Chad played multiple games online before settling on World of Warcraft. While working at a restaurant during his college years at Oklahoma State University, Chad’s friends convinced him to take a break from WoW to try out League of Legends. It didn’t take long for Chad to fall in to the addiction that many League players know, and he began recruiting as many friends as he could to join him. He fell naturally in to the support role, preferring aggressive champions like Braum, Bard, Zyra and Thresh, similar to warlocks and warriors in WoW.

While attending OSU, Chad fell in to depression and began to withdraw from the world. His grades slipped. He skipped work. There were days where he would never leave his bed. Not even his passion for video gaming was safe. Having a heavy courseload, three different jobs, being newly married and becoming a father at 19 weighed on him continually and drained any energy there was for living. There were times he would go up to 40 hours without sleeping, sending his body in to a state of PTSD which developed the symptoms of depression and general anxiety disorder. Regina, Chad’s wife, prompted Chad to find local communities and engage in social activity to help alleviate the weight from his shoulders, which led Chad to join OKLOL and Gamers of OSU.

“I struggled with a lot throughout my life, but I underwent a lot of stress in college,” Chad said. “Statistically, I should have never made it to college – I ran away from home when I was 14, had trouble with substance abuse, fought with my mom – but I did, and it was a lot of stress on me with coursework and loneliness. I think not having a lot of other young dads like me was a huge weight on me. Joining Gamers of OSU and the OKLOL group sparked something in me that bounced me back onto my feet. I found people that have now become some of my closest friends and have helped me through some of the roughest times of my life. Thanks to the community, there is always someone available to play with. I want to help make OKLOL a place that other people who feel alone can come and find a community they can call home.”

To help raise awareness about depression among gamers, Chad turned to streaming on Twitch.tv. He regularly advocates for people to seek out help and advice from several community resources, such asGamers Fighting Depression and Sanctuary of Legends. He also uses this platform to raise money for Extra Life, and online grassroots fundraiser that benefits the Children’s Miracle Network though video gaming. Chad found the organization after his youngest son, Parker, was life-flighted to Oklahoma City after suffering a seizure, which motivated his continual support for the organization via streaming.

“The nine days I spent in that children’s hospital was some of the biggest stress I have experienced to date,” Chad said. “The staff at the hospital and supporting organizations were some of the most helpful and kindhearted people I have ever dealt with. They understood my stress and took care of me while also taking care of Parker. They fed and housed me while keeping me updated on Parker’s condition. I stream to benefit Extra Life because I want to do something to let that hospital know how appreciative I am of their hard work and generosity.”

One of Chad’s favorite past times is competing in tournaments around the state, with which he has a long history. Starting from his “silver scrub” days maining top lane at Tokyo in Tulsa in 2013 to making it to the top 32 in the first Heroes of the Dorm tournament to placing second in the 2016 Tokyo in Tulsa uncapped League tournament, Chad has always been a competitor.

“My first big tournament was the League tournament at Tokyo in Tulsa 2013,” Chad said. “I played AD Carry for one of the three United As ONE teams, where we lost in the first round. I think my desire to win tournaments was born out of feeling embarrassed from that first lost. After that, I started forming the League teams at OSU to grow the competitive community. One of the teams I subbed for asked me to play with them officially since I ‘meshed’ with the team better than anyone else, even though I was a lower rank than them. It made me feel good and continued to fuel that motivation to win.

“These teammates ended up becoming some of my closest friends. We played in multiple local tournaments and competed in larger-scale collegiate tournaments. We made it really far in the first Riot Collegiate tournament and even made it to the top 32 of the Heroes of the Dorm tournament. The best part of the tournaments, in my opinion, was practicing for them. We always made the team name based on which meme we overused while practicing, like ‘Oh,’ ‘Hi Mark,’ ‘The Grapefruit Technique,’ ‘The Golden Dong,’ and ‘Hotshot’s Sandcastle.’ It was a fun motivation in tournaments.”

Chad is currently working on putting a team together for Tokyo in Tulsa 2017 and season 3 of the Oklahoma LCS, an online competitive scene new to the OKLOL community. While he still hopes to do well, the goal has become more focused on having fun with friends than being competitive. Chad lives in Stillwater with his two sons, Tucker, 6, and Parker, 2, and his wife, where he is a webmaster for Fire Protection Publications. He received his bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism from OSU. When not gaming, Chad likes to channel his artistic side by drawing and painting.

 (from left) Chad, Tucker and Regina announcing baby Parker

(from left) Chad, Tucker and Regina announcing baby Parker

Q&A with Crickett
Favorite champions? Braum, Bard, Thresh, and my boy Taric
Least favorite champions? Soraka, Lulu, Janna – they’re too passive for me
LCS role model: Wildturtle and Rush, but my all-time favorite player is Lustboy
Strengths: I like to learn and improve every chance I get
Weaknesses: I play aggressive. Very aggressive. It gets me killed a lot
Favorite quote: “It’s okay if you’re impressed.” – Taric