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    Hamez explains his absence during Team Secret's run at WCS

    Team Secret captain talks honestly about emotional turmoil
    Apr 11, 2022
    PHOTO: (From Left) Hamez Secret, Hamez Santos/Facebook

    AFTER A banner 2021 for the League of Legends: Wild Rift squad, Team Secret suffered a stunning reversal of fortunes in WCS Philippines.

    Heavily favored to take it all the way to the finish line, the SEA Champions runner-ups were booted out of the playoffs by Grindsky, who shocked Team Secret with a hard-fought reverse sweep on April 4. (RRQ would later on go on to win the WCS PH.)

    Throughout the entire tournament, team captain James “Hamez” Santos was apparently dealing with a host of personal issues, as he revealed in a recent Facebook post.

    The pioneering member of the Team Secret Wild Rift squad posted a screenshot of an announcement he drafted back in March 4, revealing that, at the time, he was seriously thinking about retiring from professional esports.

    “[It’s] unfortunate that [I] lost to my demons and i [can’t] go on anymore,” he wrote in the unposted draft. “[It’s] something [I] know [I] would regret in the future. So for now, i want to prioritize my sanity and find myself cause [I’m] lost.”


    However, Hamez decided not to publish the announcement. But on his Facebook post, he still wanted to come clean about the personal ordeal that he’s been suffering, which forced him to take a leave from the team.

    “This is what I've been going through the past months and [I would’ve] posted it before, but a lot of the people that [matter] to me kept telling me that [I] would regret it, and so [I] gave myself some time to think about it,” explained the support.

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      Hamez talks openly about pressure, anxiety

      While he did not discuss specific details, Hamez was clearly cracking under the pressure of pro play, driving the longtime League of Legends player to consider quitting his profession.

      “I realized that [I’ve] been working so hard all my life just to be where [I’m] at right now and [I’m] throwing it all away just because [I] got scared of people's expectations towards me and my expectations towards myself that got amplified by my anxiety,” he wrote.

      It took an illuminating talk with his boss to get him to reconsider his decision. “He told me ‘[W]hat are you going to do when you quit? [Y[ou'll be wasting what you have right now. You can't be running away from it forever[,] [y]ou are living it, you think about it when you wake up, even when you decided to take some time off[,] you still message the team and tell them what needs to be done.’"


      Hamez also apologized to the team for his absence in the most crucial stages of the tourney, and thanked both them and his boss “for giving me another chance to come back, a chance that would not be taken for granted.

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      Hamez’s lengthy post underscores the need for a more comprehensive focus on mental health inside esports teams and organizations. As a sports psychologist explained to Spin.ph’s Carlos Pineda, “There’s a lot of expectation and pressure surrounding the environment of sports and esports and that’s why a number of athletes tend to react with this pressure that’s upon them.

      “It affects not only their performance — specifically it might deteriorate their performance, such as anxiety, the tension which they could feel during an actual game or competition.”

      Get more of the latest sports news & updates on SPIN.ph

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      PHOTO: (From Left) Hamez Secret, Hamez Santos/Facebook
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