Kushner says the community she’s found
in gaming has led to close friendships.
In addition to coaching League of Legends, Kushner coaches and participates
in international Pokémon competitions.
At her D.C. job, she stays quiet about her
involvement in gaming.
“In the legal profession, people will
think it’s childish, like ‘you should stop
playing games,’ ” she says. “But I don’t
think that’s the case. I think you should
always have interesting hobbies.”
Super Smash Bros. from Nintendo is
the other popular game for coaching at
The Game Gym, and it happens to be
Hafkin’s favorite. His gaming name is
“ExtraBBQ,” which he was assigned when
he purchased an Xbox.
Hafkin decided that Fortnite would
not be permitted at The Game Gym.
He says parents he’s spoken to are wary
of the game, and he sees fewer career
opportunities for kids associated with
it. “League of Legends has nearly 3,000
employees,” he says, referring to the
designers, engineers, artists and story-
tellers who work at Riot Games, which
produces League of Legends. He wants
kids coming to The Game Gym to see
esports as something on which to build a
career. Some colleges now offer scholar-
ships for kids to play in a gaming league.
The U.S. video-game industry revenue
now tops $36 billion, according to the
Entertainment Software Association.
That figure is expected to increase.
Hafkin compares learning the intricacies of a video game with learning a new
skill, such as playing the guitar, which
he’s teaching himself now. “Anything
done in balance can be good in your life,”
he says. n