When a young person dies, the first thing I tend to think about is all the lost potential. What could they have become? What life could they have lived? So, when I heard about a young man my age, who died very suddenly late last year, I was brought to tears by some of his final words.
Dennis Hawelka was a german professional esports player. While most pro esports players start in their teens, Dennis did not begin playing professionally until his late twenties but he quickly grew to prominence under the name “INTERNETHULK” as a great League of Legends and Starcraft player until finally playing and later coaching pro teams in my favorite game Overwatch. He suddenly passed away in November 2017.
What really struck a nerve with me was what he said during an interview for the Overwatch World Cup:
“I made a career out of gaming when I was 29. I had a rough past before that. I told my dad what I’m doing and he is watching my games. And it’s the best feeling in the world to actually make your parents proud. And I feel that’s what I did. It’s amazing!!!” 😢
A few days after he passed away, the developers behind the game Overwatch announced The Dennis Hawelka Award to “be presented at the end of each Overwatch League season to the player that we deem to have had the most positive impact on the community”. Just like Dennis brought joy to the community, future players will take over the mantle.
Overwatch developers even added a memorial for Dennis in the game:
I ❤ DH … Crusader stehen wache und Helden sterben nicht!