Former CJ Entus and current ROX Tigers top laner Park “Shy” Sang-myun said in an interview with Fomos’ Park Sang-jin he had to recover from the sting of relegation after last year’s summer split.
“It was a different situation from 2015,” he said. “I was OK with my play, but I really didn’t like League of Legends. I didn’t even want to log in to play. For about a month I played one game a day and did something else. I also drank a bit. When I talk about it, I thought I was OK, but I guess the shock was bigger than I thought.”
Although one of the oldest members of CJ with Hong “MadLife” Min-gi, there was a moment where Shy elected to not play for the team in 2015, choosing to take time to recover before he was prepared to play again.
“The 2015 KeSPA Cup was the catalyst (to my troubles),” he said. “Although we didn’t make it to worlds, I reflected on my play as we made it to the finals of the KeSPA Cup. I honestly thought I did a good job. I was full of confidence because I thought I played a large part in the team making it to the finals. But that was the problem. After losing to ESC Ever, my confidence fell hard in relation to my previous confidence.”
Shy confessed that his performance at the KeSPA Cup finals “embarrassed” him, and he asked for time off from the team. CJ granted his request, and Shy did not play in las year’s spring split before returning to the lineup in June.
As his contract came up in the fall, Shy and CJ agreed to part ways. During his time off, Shy was able to play other games but also had serious thoughts about his future. He looked toward another industry veteran, Yeo “TrAce” Chang-dong, which solidified his decision to keep playing.
“At that point I also thought what I should do if I quit as a pro gamer,” he said. “Casting, coaching, or even streaming didn’t seem attractive. I think I had some unresolved things as a pro player. Although I’m not personally close with him, I was surprised by and respected TrAce, who is now the coach for Samsung Galaxy, for being a pro player at his age. We were both players, but he was very cool. Then I thought I was able to keep being a player for as long as I can.”
His decision to join the new-look ROX Tigers was a dramatic affair that involved ROX’s new head coach, Kang Hyun-jong, formerly of the Afreeca Freecs and CJ Entus. Based on their prior experience working together, Shy gave a lot of weight of what Kang had to say about his future endeavors.
“He kept telling me to not go abroad,” Shy said. “He said that even if I were to go, not to go this year, that it’s not too late to go next year after a good showing in Korea. He was so concerned about my predicament that he started to show tears while talking to me. When I saw that, I thought that this was a person who deeply cared about me. I was confident that I would be able to concentrate on my game play without much to worry about.”
With a total rebuild for 2017, the new ROX Tigers have large shoes to fill. Shy is well aware of this fact, and relishes the challenge.
“Although all of the initial players have gone, the team is still here,” he said. “The team’s record stands as well. Now, myself, my teammates, and head coach Kang need to continue that legacy. Since it’s a team that accomplished a lot, I don’t think it’ll be easy. But we need to challenge ourselves. The rest of the team is of the same opinion and are working hard.”