Overcoming More than the Odds
Li “booy005” Chia-Lin always manages to place in the top ten on the Grandmaster leaderboard in Asia. It’s an incredible feat for a Taiwanese player, consistently outplacing every competitor from both HGC Korea and China save for a few names such as Lee “Rich” Jae-won every season.
Not impressed? Try this one:
Booy005 competed at the Eastern Clash in Taipei last year with his old team, Soul Torturers. He battled at the Mid-Season Brawl in Sweden with Soul Torturers. He fought at the HGC Finals in California with Soul Torturers. He’s not on the Soul Torturers anymore, though. In fact, he beat them to qualify for the Eastern Clash he’s competing in today.
Talk about hardcore, right? Booy005 has committed an incredible amount of time towards polishing his play. And he’s earned his place in the social circles at the top of the eastern Heroes of the Storm scene.
There is, however, an obstacle he faces every day.
When booy005 was in the second grade, he suddenly became hard of hearing. A cloud of frustration and confusion hung over the subsequent hospital and doctor visits. Eventually a solution was prescribed: he would wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life.
“Originally, I was more outgoing, but after I became hard of hearing I became more withdrawn and less able to engage with other people,” said booy005. “I can actually still hear. I can still hear the game fine by just turning up the volume. The issues comes from communicating with my team because then there will be two sources of sound—the teammates and the game. This is the bigger challenge.”
“In terms of communication, sometimes it's difficult to understand and communicate with him in real time,” said La “GarnetDevil” Yi-Ming, booy005’s teammate. “We devote a lot of effort towards that.”
The logistics are a little tricky, but booy005 doesn’t let his disability hold him back. “It can sometimes be challenging when I go out of the country or compete in very long tournaments,” he said. “For example, when we were at the Mid-Season Brawl there was an issue with the hearing aid and there were two days where I had to practice with my teammates and I couldn't hear them at all.”
The mishap didn’t stop Soul Torturers from beating Tempo Storm on Cursed Hollow in Sweden. It also didn’t stop them from defeating MVP Black on Battlefield of Eternity last year at the very same venue he’s standing in today, Blizzard Arena Taipei.
While booy005 and his team may not be favored to take home the trophy here in Taipei, his resilience and determination are worthy of both admiration and celebration. “You have to work extra hard,” he said. “You have to keep practicing. You have to keep playing to get better.”