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Publisher Joe Ragazzo on the origins of Slingshot Esports

In the fall of 2006, I was a freshman at Ohio University and my roommate explained how no matter what, I’d never beat him 1-v-1 in Halo.

“JR, I’ll beat you 10 out of 10 times,” he said. “And if I were to play a pro, he or she would beatme 10 out of 10 times. It’s like if you played LeBron James one on one, you wouldn’t win. It’s a fact.”

My cousin, Nick Cannavino, wasn’t trying to brag. He was making a point that gaming evolved. It was skill based. It wasn’t — and still isn’t — a perfect science, but one could make objective, fact-based claims as to if Player A was better than Player B. That fascinated me.

Growing up, video games were a major part of my life. Some of my most cherished memories involve playing on a LAN for the first time. I wasn’t familiar with the competitive scene, but the seeds of interest were there.

I was a naive journalism major who thought he’d be some kind of Hunter Thompson type. What appealed to me most about gaming was this kind of culture unto itself that had developed. I wanted to document that. That’s where the idea for Slingshot began: In a dorm, watching Pure Pwnage, learning about The Ogre Twins.

The problem was I didn’t know the first thing about starting a website. I didn’t yet know much about journalism itself, and I knew nothing about digital publishing. It’s important to remember these were the days of peak newspaper fear. Fellow journalism majors were telling me I should probably switch majors to business and get comfortable working as a bank teller or insurance agent. Starting a company that existed on the web and covered a niche subject was preposterous.

But that’s all changed. It’s been a long time coming, but…Welcome to Slingshot!

We want to produce the best stories and facilitate discussion about big-picture ideas in competitive gaming. We’ll look deeper than the surface. We want strong-reasoned opinions and fact-based analysis. As stated on our about page, it’s the people who drive esports and we want to tell their stories.

We want to grow with esports and become a destination that is essential to the diehard enthusiasts. We’ll also strive to appeal to the casual gamer, and even the non-gamer. The best stories appeal to everyone because they contain some element of human relatability. You don’t need to know what jungling is to empathize with someone moving halfway across the world to pursue a dream. There’s no need to understand the finer mechanics of CS:GO to find interest in ongoing macro issues such as labor relations and player salaries. These are universal topics; they just happen to involve pro gamers.

We’re just getting started and we have a lot of work to do, but we invite you to come along with us as we cover this awesome industry.


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