How Heroes Are Born: interview with Snitch's parents
Wed 20th Dec 2017 - 8:34pm
Back at BlizzCon 2017 we had the absolute pleasure of talking with Joshua “Snitch” Bennett’s parents about his gaming habits as a child and any advice they would give to parents of kids who are super into gaming. Both Leanne “Mama Snitch” Bennett and Shea “Papa Snitch” Bennett are super proud of their son, and so are we! We’re very happy to have them be a part of our Dignitas family. So check out this amazing interview we had with them and learn some funny stories about our Heroes of the Storm Team Captain, Snitch
What type of Gamer was Young Snitch?
Papa Snitch: Well, I can go way back where he was about... How old was he?
Mama Snitch: Three, he got a Playstation when he was three.
Papa Snitch: From my mother. She bought him a Playstation and it was like a switch went on and you couldn't get him off it. And one story we tell that kinda shows how into gaming Joshua was at an early age we had to find a way to control his gaming. And so we bought, what is known in the family as the Piggy Timer, and it’s a little wind-up timer for cooking eggs. And he was allowed thirty minutes, so we’d wind the timer up for thirty minutes and he’d play. When this thing went off it was so loud it would scare the life out of him.
Mama Snitch: We had a little stool that he sat on to play and when the Piggy Timer would go off he would often fall on the floor.
What did you initially think about Snitch’s gaming habits?
Papa Snitch: When we went to visit family in America, he would be very focused on how he was going to carry on playing while he was there. So he would speak to Leanne’s brother and they would sort out a laptop for him and that sort of thing so he could carry on.
Mama Snitch: He became quite good at planning. You know, he’d say, “How long have I got until dinner? An hour? Twenty minutes?” and he would always plan his gaming around that.
How do you feel about Snitch’s career now?
Mama Snitch: It’s incredible! It’s incredible that this is a job. This wasn’t a job when I was a kid. Nobody said, “I want to grow up and become a gamer.” This is really really recent that this kind of thing, esports, has become a thing but it just wasn’t [when we were young].
Papa Snitch: I think about five years ago it wasn’t a thing, but I think there’s been a massive shift in all these kinda ‘online careers’, with vloggers and YouTubers and that. These are jobs that you couldn’t even consider when I was younger. Even putting the tech to one side, you just didn’t think that was even a thing you could make a career out of. I think what’s changed in Josh’s generation and younger is that they can just kinda make up a job and make it happen, which is kind of exactly what he did. He was so tunnel-vision with this being what he was going to do that he made it happen.
Mama Snitch: He did. He really went out and said “This is what I want,” and within eighteen months he had it. He just kept hammering away at it.
What was it like before Snitch signed with a team?
Mama Snitch: We actually had a period, we kinda laugh about it now, but we were saying “Come on, you’re nineteen years old, you kinda have to get a job if you can’t make this work out,”
Papa Snitch: He was eighteen, he was younger.
Mama Snitch: You’re right, he was eighteen. But he’d been out of college, he finished that, and he was just still kinda going after this gaming and we thought “Is this a real thing? Is this going to happen?” and we kinda said, “Well look, we're going to set you a deadline and if you don’t have it by then you at least need to get a part-time job.” And he was really freaked over this. So we set Valentine’s Day as the deadline.
Papa Snitch: By accident. It was February the 14th but it just turned out to be Valentine’s Day.
Mama Snitch: And, that kid, amazingly, he comes downstairs with the biggest grin on his face at 11 pm on the 13th and says “I’ve just been signed!”
Papa Snitch: Yep, and that was it. It was about, two and a half months we had given him that deadline.
Mama Snitch: He just went after it. He made it happen. Absolutely made it happen.
Do you want Snitch to continue in Esports?
Mama Snitch & Papa Snitch: Absolutely!
Mama Snitch: I mean, why wouldn’t we? He’s happy, he’s viable, he’s making money, he’s seeing the world - in little bits and pieces, fair enough, mostly around hotels - but he is travelling, he’s meeting people from other cultures…
Papa Snitch: Yeah he’s been to so many countries and he's had experiences that I think you couldn’t possibly get, like meeting people from other cultures, making friends with all the other teams. What I really like about Heroes is that it seems like, even though they are super competitive, it seems like, almost without fail, team after team, they get on with each other and they support each other. When someone gets knocked out they are immediately rooting for the other European team or the other team that they’ve got friends in. I really like that spirit. So yeah, I absolutely want him to continue as long as he can in this very competitive space. I mean, for an industry that’s less than five years old, it’s matured incredibly quickly to a level that when he started, we got a picture from earlier on… Who was the team he played for when he first started?
Mama Snitch: He played for SK [Gaming].
Papa Snitch: He played for SK. And the tournament, the first one he played in, Team Dignitas won it, and so we’ve got this picture of Dig winning the first prize, and it was almost like it was a sign of things to come. But even back then, the industry seemed very small then and very tiny, and none of this sort of scale like at BlizzCon. And that was, what, two and a half years ago? And now it’s massive!
Mama Snitch: And here he is with a regular salary, being flown around the world, it’s amazing!
Papa Snitch: And you have these massive sponsors getting on board, and you’re playing at one of the biggest convention centres in the world. Do we want him to continue, absolutely! And whatever that means for his position going forward in this space because I think there is probably a shelf life for competitive gamers because I think it does target the younger. I’d like him to go on and do other things in this industry, whatever that may be, whatever he wants to do, but to maintain a presence.
Mama Snitch: He loves this world, and you know, we want him to be happy, so we want him to stay in it.
What advice would you give to parents of gamers?
Papa Snitch: Maybe Josh’s heritage comes from me, as I was a gamer when I was younger, back obviously pre-internet, just playing games by yourself essentially, or you’d have mates around and play games. But my parents were very supportive, but they were always like “You need to get outside more.” Now the world is flipped. Now my advice to parents is if your child wants to leave the house you say “No! You get back inside your bedroom and carry-on playing those games!” and that’s the biggest turn-around I think we’ve had in the past five or ten years. That’s gold, that advice, and you can literally take that all the way to the bank.
Any word for the HotS Community?
Mama Snitch: I love these people. I mean, I got a Tweet from Grubby earlier in the week, and I think it was mostly to embarrass Snitch, but it really touched me because he was saying “Oh we’re taking care of your boy until you get here,” and that’s kinda how I feel the community has been. Josh has made such good friends, not just players, but casters, people from Dig, people from other companies and teams. They’ve just all been so supportive and welcoming, and he has a community, he has a tribe. Thank you!
Papa Snitch: As I said, what I think is really nice is just the support from team to team, and not just from Dig as an organization, but also Blizzard and the Heroes community and the gaming around that, and the fans!
Mama Snitch: Amazing!
Papa Snitch: The fan support, when you look at, win or lose, Joshua wears his heart on his sleeve and so when he wins or loses and goes to Twitter and puts something out, and you see everyone rally around him. Almost without fail people rally around in a positive way. You know, saying “You’re still our favourite!” or “We still support you!” and it’s lovely. I think it says a lot about, again a very young industry, but that has matured so quickly, to where it’s in really a genuinely good place.
Mama Snitch: It is kinda weird, you wander around BlizzCon and people come up and introduce themselves and take selfies with Joshua, and you’re thinking “This is my kid!” it’s a bit weird.
Papa Snitch: Oh the funniest thing from that. We live in a very small town, a little village in the south of England and about a year ago we went out for a meal at a local pub and a man came up to us, he was in his fifties and said “I’m sorry to disturb you,” and I’m thinking “Oh what’s this about,” and he said “Are you Snitch?” to our son. It turned out he was someone’s dad?
Mama Snitch: He was Athero’s father.
Papa Snitch: Yeah his dad! And to just come out of nowhere, a little place in the middle of nowhere, and we walked up to him and thought “This is quite strange,” but it’s been a bit like that ever since.
Mama Snitch: But it’s great! It’s lovely that people seem to really warm to Joshua. What you see with Josh is what you get. That’s really who he is, there’s just no fake to him at all.
Papa Snitch: He’s just a nice kid.