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Abbe “DieHardBirdie” Borg, Golden Snipers Team Captain – Interview Series

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Abbe Borg, aka “DieHardBirdie”, is the 2019 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive World Champion and esports oldest world champion at age 78. He is currently leading his own team of military veteran gray gamers. The team is dubbed the GOLDEN SNIPERS and is set to break stereotypes as they are all above 60 years old. Abbe has also launched the new series airing on Bloomberg TV, the 12 monthly “DSCVR ESPORTS” tv show.

Could you share the story of how you initially discovered video games?

I love to tinker with my hands. As an artist, I make sculptures out of paper, old books, napkins, rocks, metal sheets, or just about anything. So, when I discovered gaming through my granddaughter, I took a liking to it instantly because it dealt pretty much with the dexterity of the fingers. Also because the game requires full concentration— something that old folks like me need to work on. Plus it was so much fun and I get to bond with my granddaughter and other young people. Right now, I spend at least four hours a day gaming.

When did you initially begin playing CS:GO and what attracted you to the game?

I learned how to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) around 4-5 years ago. I set up my own Twitch channel where I stream every time I play CS:GO. It’s true that I started playing later than most pro-gamers since most gamers are around the age of 15 to 25 years old. But as they say, age doesn’t matter. During the past year, I have been playing CS:GO for about two hours a day. It’s like my training session to help improve my skills and keep me alert. I still need to train more but I’m having a lot of fun on this journey.

What I love best about playing video games is engaging with teenagers and younger gamers. People my age have lost touch with the younger generation. Getting into video gaming has bridged that huge gap between our worlds. I’d say my biggest joy is being able to interact and connect with the younger generation and learn new things and new games. That’s why I started playing, mainly to overcome the age and experience gap. Of course, you must have guessed that this game is a lot of fun, even for old chaps like me.

You then became involved with the Silver Snipers, how did this esports team start and what got you involved?

Lenovo wanted to form a team and they recruited me along with other senior gamers. That’s how the Silver Snipers team began. Curiosity got the better of me and here I am, I’m officially hooked! I’m still learning and doing my best to get better and better.

The Silver Snipers eventually won a CS:GO Senior League tournament, how was this experience?

It was awesome! The crowds were applauding and cheering us on. They were very happy that we won the tournament. Of course, the journey to the championship was not a bed of roses. Heaven knows the number of times we lost in some matches. And I got killed many times but I kept trying. We worked hard for this and it definitely paid off! The championship experience is something I will always think the world of.

You can often be found streaming on Twitch, what made you decide to stream and how many hours a day do you play?

Yes, I am streaming on Twitch. My Twitch channel is https://www.twitch.tv/diehardbirdie. I decided to stream my games after I retired from Silver Snipers. I wanted to keep on playing games on my own and spend time with my family. The COVID-19 pandemic happened and the lockdowns gave me more time to play games and stream them. I also think of playing and streaming games as my daily exercise. When I started streaming last year, I was playing for almost four hours a day, 5 days a week. I spend over 2 hours playing games and the remaining hours editing my stream and choosing highlights out of my stream. It’s like my daily practice and exercise so that I’ll stay active while staying at home. I still try to stream everyday but there are also days when I skip playing games and spend time with family.

You recently founded your own team called the Golden Snipers that is composed of military veterans. Could you tell us more about this team and its different members and why you decided to start a new team?

I am forming a new team called the “Golden Snipers” and I will lead the team. The team is composed of senior gamers like me but some of the members are also military veterans. This new team reflects my advocacy of promoting playing games to senior gamers to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations. We wanted to create more opportunities for senior players and to create an open and inclusive space in the gaming community with no discrimination against gender and age.

Do you believe you can ever be too old to begin gaming?

I believe that no one is too old or too young to play video games. Take it from me, I learned how to play CS:GO in my late 70s and I became a world champion. What’s important is that you have the guts to play and to just do your best. Keep on practicing and be patient. No one is already great when they first start playing games. Take your time and practice. Age is only a number so you can always try and do something new or learn how to play new games. Your hard work will pay off when you put in time and effort in improving your gaming skills. Don’t forget to enjoy what you do and have fun.

What are some benefits that can be had from playing games even at a more mature age?

Gaming is part of my daily routine. It keeps me mentally active. Just like any other gamer, I need to improve my skills by training every single day! I may be older than most gamers today but I wanted to prove that age should not stop anyone from improving their skills and becoming better. I got plenty of time in my hands during the quarantine and I used it to spend time with my family while playing games.

Among other things, playing games has also improved my vision, my strategic thinking, and my reflexes. My vision is getting better as I focused on hitting the targets. I can strategize with every new round and my reflexes are quicker as I learned to dodge the enemies.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about the Golden Snipers?

The veterans forming the team possess the foundation of essential survival skills and the instinct of not getting hit, all of which are very helpful in playing and winning in Counter-strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and other similar games requiring military skill and strategy. Their real-life experiences are essential to the team’s victory not only in the game but also in breaking the barriers of the stereotypical esports gamers. The team aims to encourage the elderly and senior citizens to try gaming and gain multiple physical, mental, and social benefits. As team captain, I see the team as determined, focused, and disciplined — the kind of team that values teamwork while living a balanced lifestyle while having fun playing games.

Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Abbe’s Twitch page or visit the GOLDEN SNIPERS.

Antoine Tardif is the CEO of Gaming.net, and has always had a love affair for games, and has a special fondness for anything Nintendo related.