pashaBiceps: “If someday a government will create a Ministry of Esports, I will go for it and I will take care of it”

Денис Забарний

Players report Denys D3str0_o Zabarnyi talked with Polish Counter-Strike legend Jaroslaw pashaBiceps Jarzabkowski about IEM Katowice, the state of CS, coaching, personal sports challenges and the development of the esports scene in Poland.

IEM Katowice is a special event for you. What was the most emotional moment during all of your career from here, from Katowice?

I would say it was 2014 when we won the event. But after that, it was 2019, the moment where it was a lot of emotions because I went with the trophy to the stage, I opened IEM, and a lot of people were shouting my name: Pasha! Pasha! 

When I put the trophy in its place on the stage it was the moment inside me when I realised – it’s time to finish. And on Friday – it was the same emotion as in 2019 but a bit different. When I was carrying the trophy again, on the stage, my friends kuben, NEO, TaZ were on the left and the right sides. I shared this trophy with them. We spent a lot of time together. 

It looks like a different emotion, you know. You are kind of a celebrity, and your friends are coaches in the top teams and a special moment for me, was when people got crazy in the arena when the gates opened and they saw me on stage. They didn’t know which player would bring the trophy to the stage. So, that’s moment which will be with me for my whole life.

What can you say about this tournament? What can you say about the performance of the teams?

Everyone is surprising. No one expected Ence will play the quarter-final. They beat the group stage and the top teams in the world, so everyone was focused on the quarter-final. And to be honest there was a deep pressure. Like dycha, gla1ve, kuben, hades… But Goofy and Kylar – that was something new and I was really scared about them. The first map, I think, there was a bit of pressure, they didn't join the server, and they lost. On the second map, they felt better. Third map... I’m not mad, I’m a bit sad, not satisfied that much because I think this team could play in the final. 

This team can replay what we did 10 years ago. They can win this event after one move. But I’m a little bit disappointed, a bit sad. After this win on the Polish scene, it can become bigger and bigger. Someone has to push Counter-Strike and esports in Poland. I think they can do it. But now it’s too late. Maybe one week later we will have a PGL Major RMRs and it’s very important for the Polish team – Ence. I mean, the whole scene in Poland. If they go there a lot of people will start being interested in esports again and it will be important for the future. For them – it is the future.

You told me that ENCE could play in finals, but now Spirit and Faze are in finals. Who do you think will win - Spirit or Faze?

I would like NEO to win, because he won here, he is my friend. It’s a special moment for him in front of his crowd. But Spirit – very strong players, they have no fear. They remind me of the old Vega Squadron. Every action, every place on the server – no fear. They just press W, go kill. They don’t have special tactics, you know. Five of them are very strong players. And donk... I don’t know what to say. I wish every young team had that kind of killer.

We know that this tournament is played on the other patch of CS, but the CS was released half a year ago. What do you think about its technical issues? A lot of players say there are a lot of bugs and a lot of problems. What do you think about the overall technical issues and the last patch?

I’m very sad..not sad, but unhappy that Valve did it too fast. CS:GO was a really good game, playable for everyone, and everyone enjoyed it. They should have done small mini-updates and patches. That would be probably enough. They released another game. 90% of people, pro-players, and people who enjoyed the CS:GO are unhappy right now. The biggest problem is cheaters. Cheaters, cheaters, cheaters and a lot of bugs, right? There are some things, you know, that people like smokes, new graphics – it’s very good. With new skins, the game became more realistic. But cheaters, servers, matchmaking, the ranks. Why? You have worked on the game for 20 years, and you cannot find a way to have an anti-cheat, to fix small problems. I don’t know how it works, I don’t know.

You are playing a lot of Counter-Strike. Do you miss your player career? Do you miss the crowd? Did you think of coming back as a player or as a couch like NEO?

Oh, yeah. People often tell me: “Papito, it’s the time to become a coach!” I always say: Guys, I have a lot of things to do in my life. I travelled a lot before. I’ve been at home sometimes for 3-4 days per month. This is enough. Right now, it’s time to be at home with close members of the family. I don’t like to travel anymore, you know. 

For example, NEO. He’s playing here at this event for one week. After the final, he is going to Romania to PGL RMR, and a bootcamp before it. So, he has limited time. 

Being a coach is not for me. I’m too nervous. I don’t like it when players are making some stupid mistakes. I’m scared about players, you know.. “What you are you doing?”.. It’s not for me. Maybe someday, I’m not saying no.

You are cycling a lot and doing MMA fights. You do a lot of sports and making a lot of challenges. What are you going to do next? 

Unfortunately, I lost my last fight so I need to win the next fight. I will go to the PGL Major Copenhagen by bike again. If I have a positive response from my family, maybe, Shanghai, by bike. This probably take a lot of moves but we’ll see, it’s a big plan. 

I’m involved in Pasha Gaming Camps for adults and kids. In two weeks I will have a camp with 400 kids. I help them a bit to understand Counter-Strike and give some advice. I had a nice time in gaming. 

The IEM Katowice was supported by a local government. What can you say about the development of the esports scene and tournaments in Poland overall? How do you see the future of Polish esports? 

It’s a big problem in Poland. The pro scene is not big enough, to be honest. It’s just a few teams that have salaries and players can live and earn from gaming. But the biggest problem is that we have a lot of amateur players in Poland and there are no tournaments for them. That’s my plan for 2024 - organise some events for players who are never been in tournaments. I’m not talking about events in schools. I mean real events for amateurs, with brackets, streaming, Twitch etc. 

Only for beginners? 

Only. Players who compete in the top-level tournaments will be banned, so no pro-players. It’s for players who would like to be pro-players in the future. We don’t have these ideas in Poland. A lot of amateurs are playing Counter-Strike. Where can they play? Only online? They need to feel it, attend the event together, handshake, feel the atmosphere, play next to their friends, scream, and how to react. That’s what we needed. Wish me good luck, and have fun.         

What influence does the Polish esports federation have on esports? 

To be honest, I don’t know. You know? My dream is next: if someday a government will create a Ministry of Esports, I will go for it and I will take care of it. I was born in the Polish gaming scene, I know everything, I know people, I know how to do it. Someone needs to take care of everything and look at the long term, not the short term. We need to build the esports scene from the lower grounds.

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