Peter "dupreeh" Rothmann is one of the world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players and a member of one of the few player-owned esports organizations, Astralis.
The Danish entry-fragger, now 24 years old, has already shown the world that he can compete at the highest levels. His team won IEM Katowice in March, the ELEAGUE Major in January, the ECS Season 2 Finals in December.
His path to the utmost heights of competitive CS:GO, however, started young. He began playing CS when he was about 12 years old, playing on his brother's PC when he was gone on the weekend. But dupreeh was also a member of a youth club which met after school, a phenomenon that he describes as "very common" in Denmark, and where the kids sometimes played CS.
"You do a lot of different things together, and we didn’t have a lot of computers. Still, we could play play half an hour every day, and we did. Needless to say, I was the best," dupreeh said.
But back then, the idea of becoming a professional CS player was not something that dupreeh even thought was possible. And even if it had been, that wasn't why he was playing the game.
"I had no clue, you could become a pro and make a living this way. I didn’t really care neither, ’cause it was all about having a good time with your friends and just trying to become better, so you could brag about it," he said. "For me it was a hobby that became more serious as time went by, but still a hobby."
Still, dupreeh's passion for the game developed into something more than the pursuit of bragging rights. As he began to take the game more seriously, he started working on practicing the game.
But at that point, he said, practice was less structured, and the team didn't spend as much time considering the tactics employed. All in all, he called the process "very loose."
Another method he used to improve was playing and watching tournaments to compare his own methods to those of his opponents. But that has changed, he said, as more in-depth support structures have emerged.
"Today [with Astralis] we have a much more structured approach, a coach, psychologist, physical training, focus on lifestyle and a top professional organization around us, but it will always be up to the individual," he said. "My main method is my own drive and battle to become better. Every day."
While it wasn't really a mentor that allowed dupreeh to work his way toward the professional level, he did say that he looked up to Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, noting that he "was one of the big shots for me. He was a beast and well known way before I was."
Ultimately, dupreeh said that he knew that he could become a professional once he joined a roster including Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen, René "cajunb" Borg, Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz and Bo "wantz" Vestergaard.
"At that time, I realized I was actually very good at this," he said. "In early 2015 I could actually make a living playing CS:GO — then you realize you’ve kinda made it at that level."
There are no regrets on his path to pro, dupreeh explained. But one thing he bears in mind constantly is the fact that he fought to get to this point.
"The battle to get here has become something I use, to stay and to keep on doing it and what makes me keep on striving to become better every single day. That battle I will always hold on to."
It's interesting to wonder whether the surging popularity of esports worldwide might see more youth clubs, this time focused on pro gaming, pop up in the future. For future aspiring esports players, dupreeh said that the key is to focus on self-development.
"Learn from your mistakes, keep improving and never think you're perfect."
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.