In this installation of “In the Driver’s Seat”, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Adi – General Manager of the Sharks. I have had minimal interactions with Adi up until this point and was looking forward to getting to know him more. After our 40 to 50-minute conversation, it was quite apparent to me why he was given the responsibility of the Sharks franchise for Season 11. Hopefully, the following interview leaves you with the same impression I was left with.
when did you join MLE?
My first season was Season 8 with the start of the Foundation League. I was unable to do tryouts at the time due to my scheduling with school, so I was doubtful that I would get picked up. At the time I was on Xbox and CaliforniaDays (a player for the Blizzard) saw my Rocket League clips on Xbox and was impressed with what he saw. So I was a bit of a dartboard pick in the third round based on my clips. Even to this day, I am still really great friends with the players from that Season 8 Blizzards team. We were all going to meet up in Austin this past April but then Covid-19 happened, unfortunately.
What has been your overall record since being in the MLE?
As a player I have gone 41-34 across two teams, the Blizzard and the Sabres, which is not too bad at all! I was not aware of what my record even was before the question. Being my first season as a General Manager, we’ll have to see how my teams do this season. But I will say this, I do remember my first ever match in MLE and just how nervous I was. I remember my hands were visibly shaking to start.
What is your favorite car in Rocket League?
I would consider myself an Octane Main. I was a Venom Main when I first started playing Rocket League.
Do you prefer 2s of 3s?
I prefer 2s far more than 3s. 3s feels like you drive as fast as possible and you hit the ball as hard as possible and it does not feel as enjoyable as 2s. In 2s, you need the skill to beat out that first man and I enjoy that test of skill.
What is the best non-standard mode?
Heatseeker – for the demos.
What is your favorite MLE memory?
Taking down the undefeated Wolves last season with Andy. The Wolves were a different roster by the time we faced them but were still a dominant squad. We went down 0-2 to start. At that point, we decided to just relax and just go for it. We readjusted and came back with the reverse sweep. We hung out in voice chat with the entire team during the game and had an absolute blast during the series and celebrating afterward.
What is the best part of being a Shark?
The best part is that we have a really great group of people on the Sharks. I draft teams based on personality. I value chemistry over mechanics and that is evident with how the players interact with me and each other. Just this past weekend, the Premier League Sharks beat the Flames 3-2. After the series, Tunloink messaged me saying that he felt like he slacked during the week in preparation for the match and that he would pick it up moving forward. Getting that message, even after the win, was heartwarming and reaffirms that we have “buy-in” from all the players. More importantly, though, we are all having fun playing Rocket League with one another.
Another fun thing we have with the Sharks is “Shark Bait of the Week”. Where if you play in scrims, participate in the Franchise Cup, and play in series, you earn fish. If you end up with the most fish at the end of each week, you get admin permissions in my server, where you can change up names, add fun channels, and give that recognition of those really investing into the Franchise. This idea was from BigC and my time on the Sabres, so all the credit for it goes to him.
What is your favorite hobby outside of Rocket League?
I would consider myself a big-time sports fan, with me really getting into Formula 1. My meet up, with my friends from MLE in April, was us going to Austin to watch the United States Grand Prix. We had everything booked in February too but again, COVID changed our plans. I also play tennis a fair bit in my free time.
What is the best part of being a General Manager?
Getting to see the players grow as people and players. For example, Kkube [player for the Champion League Sharks] was super nervous to start the season and went 0-5 in their first series. Tonight, on the mainstream, he went 4-1. It’s wonderful to see that development and growth between series. On top of that, being able to hang out with the boys, have movie nights, and supporting them throughout the season.
What is the hardest part of being a General Manager?
Managing players that are not as active as other players. This is an issue for some players [who] are more introverted, which is fine. It means that I need to support them and strike a balance in their management. I need to find a way to encourage those players which includes working with captains to troubleshoot and solve problems.
Of course, there is also scheduling…but it has been made easy with Hobo as my Assistant General Manager.
What made you want to be a general manager?
My first season was okay but my second season with Helly I started to play more Rocket League in order to have fun with my friends. During that time, I ranked out from Academy League and was picked up by the Sabres. I had a similar experience on the Sabres as I did on the Blizzard. I was having a wonderful time and I wanted to get better at Rocket League with my friends.
While on the Blizzards and Sabres, I took a year off from college to work. During that year off, I saw all of my IRL friends graduate. When I came back to school, those friends were gone, and I lost some of that interaction. But in what I lost I also gained legitimate friendships with players on both the Sabres and the Blizzard. I am quite grateful for that and being a General Manager, I wanted to foster that community and build friendships as well. I wanted to follow the lead that Helly and BigC set out for me.
You mentioned you took a year off from college; what was your degree in?
Computer Science and Stats Major. I now work for a Federal Contracting Agency. During my year off I worked full time with the Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, front end and back end stuff for their pesticide program. It was incredibly rewarding to work and I want to continue to work in fields that benefit society.
Where do you see yourself in two, three, or maybe five years?
I plan on pursuing a master’s in business administration. I am interested in using data analytics to help solve social issues.
Speaking to analytics, during Covid-19, I have developed a quick little “cheat sheet” for the Sharks. It shows the player’s all of their statistics from the season, shows the statistics of their upcoming opponents, and all of their matchups thus far. I wanted to create something to help them before each series and I hope to expand upon that document.
I am also in the Alpha testing phase of an app that I have created. It is sort of like Tinder, but for local restaurants. You and your friends input all your food preferences and the app produces restaurants based on that input. You “swipe right or left” on these restaurant profiles and it helps you and your group find where you should eat. So I would love to see where this app comes to in the next several years.
Lastly, I hope to be the Sharks General Manager next season too. I want to continue to grow those relationships that make MLE so special.
From “Shark Bait of the Week”, to trying to meet up with his friends from MLE in Austin, to the Xbox clips that landed him a roster spot. Adi from the Sharks is the epitome of what a General Manager is and what the face of a franchise should be. His constant focus on relationship building and personal development is something we can all strive for, not just in MLE, but in our day to day lives.