My thoughts of my friendship with Dennis Hawelka
Near the end of August, Dennis was hired by Team Liquid to be Head Coach for the 2018 NA LCS team. I had met him previously since he came to the Team Liquid Apartments for the Overwatch team, but as soon as he was officially signed we arranged to get dinner to get to know each other. I live off site so I ubered to the TL apartments to meet up with him. That day we spent hours talking, a long LA traffic uber ride talking, another few hours waiting, eating and talking, and finally the way home talking. We were sharing a lot about our lives, personal and professional, and we were already building a strong friendship. I related to a lot of the struggles Dennis went through as a player, and it seemed he had so much advice and experience to share. We continued having many conversations over the last few months, not only talking about organization/roster/structure changes, but also personal changes. We would exercise together, get food, and just chill out as much as we were discussing what 2018 Team Liquid would need to look like if we wanted to be a winning team. Dennis was very supportive of my weight-loss and lifestyle changes, constantly telling me encouragements and how he was proud of me.
Anyone who knows Dennis knows about the energy he brings to conversations. He is so engaging and can seemingly talk forever about any subject, as long as he had smoke break. His excitement for the upcoming season was unparalleled to any player or coach I’ve ever worked with. Just talking with him for 15 minutes gave me the excitement of what possible results we could achieve. He was just so passionate and in love with wanting to succeed. I’m gutted at the fact that our friendship was cut so short. In just less than three months I was gifted such a rare opportunity and it was suddenly and tragically put to an end. I’m sorry to all the grieving friends and especially family of Dennis who were blessed to be a part of his life. Dennis was such a great role model, I looked up to him, and I felt so fortunate to have him as a coach.