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The Untold Truth Of San Francisco Shock

In its three years of existence, the Overwatch League (OWL) team known as San Francisco Shock has gone from stumbling new kids on the block to defending Overwatch League Grand Finals Champions. It's become one of the most-watched of the 20 teams in the League, with esports names like Striker and Choihyobin leading the roster and rising stars like Ans turning in super-solid performances. The team even achieved something no other team has done: It went 28-0 in games during the second stage of regular 2019 Overwatch League play, finishing with a 7-0 standing in head-to-head competition. And that's just one of the records they've broken so far.

During their existence, the team has had its share of activity, from fielding a Contenders team (think minor league) that fizzled in just over a year to a color re-branding (from orange, gray, and gold to orange, silver, and black) and the usual high-profile comings and goings. This is a group that regularly makes headlines, good and bad. So, what is the untold truth behind this exciting team from northern California? If you want to know more, read on.

The Shock's first manager was fired under a "zero-tolerance" behavior policy

It's not unusual for teams to experience plenty of personnel changes over the course of their existence. In the case of the San Francisco Shock, one such change was when Sinatraa retired from professional Overwatch in order to play Valorant instead. But just five months after the team's existence was officially announced, the team had one jarring personnel change that came from sexual assault allegations toward the team's first manager, Max "Hotaruz" Bateman. Owner NRG Esports fired Bateman under its zero-tolerance policy. 

The allegations came from Bateman's former friend, streamer Krystlin, who came forward about Bateman's conduct in a statement on Twitter. While not all the relevant messages between the two exist publicly any longer, she claimed he had admitted to the bad behavior. 

Some fans have said they gained respect for the organization when NRG acted quickly to address Bateman's behavior in a way that reflected well on esports generally. One Twitter user named @Lvl_2_Squirrel said, "This makes me take eSports more seriously."

Their players have been on the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

In 2019, 19-year-old San Francisco Shock players Jay "Sinatraa" Won and Matthew "Super" DeLisi appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to show off their 2019 Overwatch League trophy. In 2020, Super returned during the COVID-19 pandemic for a virtual conversation with Fallon. Both times, the players were asked to explain Overwatch to an audience that wasn't exactly familiar with the level of popularity esports experiences around the world. 

In the first segment, they used parallels with the NFL and other professional sports organizations that people knew to explain their lives. When asked to give advice to aspiring esports professionals, Sinatraa said, "You have to put a lot of time, like eight hours a day, while balancing your life with it, so it's pretty hard." He also noted that along with eight hours of team practice, players often followed that up with three or four hours of training on an individual level.

When Super returned to the show after the team's second OWL championship, he explained how he got his nickname and help Fallon create his own gamertag: "Old Thermometer." Perhaps, if the team succeeds in getting the three-peat during the 2021 competition, members of the team will be back on the show repping the San Francisco Shock and the professional gaming culture.