BroskiJazz… Upon reading his name I was expecting a spunky person with a lot of comedic panache. I found that to be true while also learning that there is so much more to his dynamic character.
Born in Virginia, BroskiJazz or Ben, showed an early inclination to music and, in particular, the piano. He was recruited into the Yamaha music program at a young age and his progression didn’t stop there. Through Yamaha, Broski had an outlet for his extensive creativity. At age 13 he wrote and performed a jazz composition for Yamaha executives. The company enjoyed the song so thoroughly that they told him to pack his things, he’d be playing for audiences region-wide, including the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants, or as he put it “The E3 of music,”) convention in LA. Now, as a Music Director for a church and a Resident Artist at a performing arts charter school, Ben is settled in Pittsburgh living a dual lifestyle of Musician and Franchise Manager for the Aviators.
We started the interview by talking about Broski’s journey into the realm of competitive Rocket League. I could hear the energy and trepidation in his voice as he recounted; “Towards the latter half of season 10, around April or May … when COVID hit, not to bring that up again, I decided to really figure out how Discord works. It started with a couple of other (Rocket League) leagues and I dove in … but people said ‘You gotta check out MLE, It’s the place to be,’ so I said ‘Okay… I’ll give it a go.’ And ‘give it a go’ he did, becoming FM within a year of joining the league.
Prior to applying and succeeding in getting a Franchise Manager position, BroskiJazz was drafted by Elite where he played a single match on stream and proceeded to rank out of the Academy League. In a fit of clairvoyance before the match, Ben jested; “This team will not win a championship because we’re all gonna rank out.”
Beyond the short stint with the Elite in early season 11, BroskiJazz found himself looking for a spot on a new team. After ranking out of the Academy League and becoming a reserve on the Champion League Elite, he admitted to himself the “stacked team,” probably wouldn’t be looking for his help any time soon. So, after opening up to the General Manage, Kro, about his desire to “Actually play this season.” he cut ties and parted ways. Soon after, He was brought into the Pandas franchise. “It’s a religion over there, man.” He told me, and it immediately felt like home. When he was picked up by the pious team, the season was looking to be a mediocre one at best. With his arrival, Ben and the whole squad turned things around. The Pandas won the Tropic division by season’s end.
One of Broski’s most treasured memories in MLE was that first playoff series. A 5-game head-to-head against the Demolition. “I was on stream for the Pandas with DonkeyKong and MLE got raided by RocketStreetLive … at one point we were playing in front of 14,000 viewers! That was a really cool memory from last season.”
Besides his overarching expanse of music experience, which Broski doesn’t exactly consider a hobby he says “Hobbywise, I love board games.” And as many of the fellow board game fanatics out there will reflect, “I’m sad that I haven’t been able to play them during the pandemic.”
“I do like both … they have unique personality traits that make them so good.” Broski told me when I asked about his favored playlist, “You should play 1s, 2s, and 3s because they all teach you a little about how to be a good Rocket League player.” He finished, adding a healthy dose of pluralism. I was about to continue on and ask the follow-up question; “What is the best non-standard mode?” before he found his telepathic gift again and divulged; “Secret option E … Hoops, I really love Hoops!” So, if you ever see the Fennec-loving Ben in a match of Hoops, beware.
The Franchise Manager position is not for the faint of heart and Broski is anything but. He told me he enjoys the prospect of facing tough decisions; “The hardest part about being an FM is kind of the hardest part about being a leader in general … To be able to step back and assess situations on a more wide scale.” Ben is keen on his team’s atmosphere and “stimulating all the different personalities,” this makes him fit and fine to take the reins this season.
It’s not all blue though, being an FM, Ben tells me that there are wonderful aspects to the responsibility; “It’s the community building. I take joy in seeing other people have a lot of fun.” “Seeing people playing and getting excited and just fully taking in the experience. I also enjoy watching people grow.” He says he has a “Hippy mindset” when it comes to Rocket League, “it applies to real-life … there’s a lot of lessons and personality traits you can learn inside Rocket League.” Things that you “can apply to become a well-rounded person.” His wisdom does not stop there, he echoes this old adage to his leadership core; “Work smarter, not harder.”
With Ben’s fervent adoration of the Aviators, I would be remiss to not ask him what his favorite aspects of the role are; “You’re a superstar!” Broski jested. “The best part is something I’m hoping to build on this season.” He continued, “I want the Aviator tag (AVI) and Aviator server to be sought after by everyone. I want the players to feel some sense of pride, to take themselves seriously but not too seriously … In a way enough where they feel empowered, you know? like; ‘I’m on the Aviators’.”
He extends an invitation to anyone; “If you want to be on AVI nation, you can be on AVI nation.” And speaking as an objective viewer of their server, I would highly suggest it. Things such as movie nights happen quite frequently and if the people are anywhere near the caliber of Broski then it’ll be a great time. I believe there are two sides to becoming a sought-after person or group; one is to become incredibly secretive and exclusive and the other is to accept all who arrive just as they are. The Aviators, under Ben’s guidance, have taken the latter approach. The server has a spot for anything and anyone, from music lovers to try-hards trying to get the best clip for the highlight reel or people who simply want to show off their beautiful mugs.
Speaking of music lovers, for anyone who wants to hear Broski’s 13-year-old performance, with his permission, we have included the song below. Please enjoy!