As we all do our part to limit the spread of the coronavirus, many of us have been put in difficult positions. Unable to work, often unable to go outside, gaming has proven to be a hero of our times. And few industries have been more significantly impacted by lockdown necessities than the athletes of Major League Soccer.
With all sports fixtures canceled, and their TV spots handed over to esports events that have the option of being held online, soccer players have been unable to do what they do best. It's a particularly bitter pill for professional athletes, as they often have a singular drive to do what they do best, making things even tougher. To find out more about staying positive through these difficulties we talked to LA Galaxy's goalie David Bingham about the struggles of staying fit when stuck inside, and how gaming has given him a new way to channel his competitive drive and community spirit during lockdown.
You must be hating this, how are you keeping fit during quarantine?
Keeping fit during quarantine has presented some unique challenges but also opened some new workouts as well. We have had to get creative with our workouts. I've been fortunate to bring a barbell, weights (5-45lbs), dumb-bells (up to 50lbs), pull up bar, and various bands home with me from our facility. Cardio has been the hardest thing to try and keep because every beach, park, and gym have been closed for weeks. Pull-ups have become my new best friend during quarantine!
Have you found ways to help other people out while staying safe?
We have tried to help promote take-out or pickup from local restaurants in order to help local businesses survive. A lot of people in my local market have been good about keep their distance from each other and gatherings, parties and BBQs have not been as popular.
How has interacting with your community been during lockdown?
As a professional athlete it is sometimes hard to connect with fans due to the number of request we receive. Now everything has shutdown, our appearances have been terminated, all interaction that we usually have with our fans has gone away. Gaming provides a unique access and opportunity to connect with fans that I've never seen before. Since quarantine has started I have played directly with fans for 1-2 hours a week. That access and duration of time is very unusual and I feel as though during this time it has helped raise the mood and spirit of some of the people I have played with.
Another way gaming directly links back to our local communities is through COD tournaments that we are starting up this week. We are hosting 15 teams in a Warzone tournament, points based off placement and number of kills. Each team in quads pays $100 with a total donation of $400 going straight to Feeding Our Essential. This, with the help of El Barrio Tacos, will help feed over 70 first responders. Depending on interest we plan to start running the tournament every two weeks.
Special thank you to @elbarrio_tacos for partnering up with us to make this happen. With the help of my teammates we were able to feed the entire shift of Redondo Beach PD today! #feedingouressentials #supportouressentials #thinblueline #supportlocal pic.twitter.com/lH47Y9iWka— David Bingham (@BinghamDb) April 23, 2020
Wow, that's incredible, how did you get that set up?
Whoever thought streaming could be so complicated? I started digging into streaming two months ago and what a ride it's been. I have my full set-up running now. I'm not sure my fiancée loves how much time I've been spending learning, tweaking, retweaking, moving monitors, removing monitors, and setting up my OBS system. I have started streaming with my old college teammate and current Seattle Sounders GK, Stefan Frei, doing weekly Ekeepers stream. Last week alone we had over 20 meals donated that generated from the stream.
How else have you used gaming to stay entertained during isolation?
The amount of game time has skyrocketed during quarantine. You can only work out for a few hours a day, and then you have hours and hours remaining. We cook most of our meals, which is one of my favorite things to do. After we clean then it's game time. One common trait from every professional athlete is the desire to win and become the best. This is why we have become successful in our careers.
Well this also creates another challenge when we aren't the best or playing to an expected level. Insert Call of Duty. Hours and hours have gone into learning and perfecting strategies. Also insert a frown from my fiancée as I'm gaming for 4-7 hours a day. If anyone has watched any meme or video of someone breaking a keyboard, controller, or headphones and doesnt understand why someone would do that, they have never played Call of Duty! The rest of us completely understand and feel that pain, and laugh.
Do you have any interest in games like Rocket League to get your soccer fix safely from home?
I must admit I am probably a weird gamer. I only play COD, I literally don't own any other game.
Ok, but have you tuned into any of the esports tournaments they're showing instead of sports broadcasts on ESPN?
I have tuned in. My buddy, The Godfather, plays for our team in those tournaments. He's also the one who helped build a custom PC for me. The esports games are fun to watch but I am terrible at them. You win some, you lose some.
What's this custom PC your mate helped build?
I would say the best way to categorize this is that I'm trying to learn how to. Building a custom gaming PC from the ground up is a daunting task. LA Galaxy's pro esports gamer, The Godfather, is a bad-ass PC builder and he's the real mastermind behind the PC. After my second stream with the new PC, my ex-teammate and good buddy has already ordered a custom PC through The Godfather (AKA Giuseppe Guastella). I have a feeling he will be getting a lot more request for similar PCs!
So what does your gaming PC have under the hood?
- Intel Core i7
- HyperX Fury DDR4 32GB
- GeFore RTX 2070 Super 8 GB GDDR6 PCI
- MSI MPG Z390
- HyperX Fury RGB SSD 960 GB
Are you happy with how powerful it is? Think it'll play the Crysis Remaster on Ultra?
I have enough juice behind my PC to where playing, streaming, and editing have all become a breeze. Im very, very happy with the build and the quality, in particular with the HyperX products I've been running. My current set up of HyperX products are the Alloy Origins keyboard, Pulsefire FPS Pro mouse, Fury S mouse pad, and CloudX Flight Headset (I have my eye on the Cloud Orbit soon). The drive which has gotten me to where I am in my career has carried over to my off-the-field life. My desire to win, whether it be on the field or in my gaming room, is the same. This leads to some very, very long Warzone nights. You just can't leave the field, or monitor, until you win!