Resilient Athletes

A look inside the Gillette Infinity Gaming house


This ongoing photo series examines the ways the coronavirus pandemic has upended and reshaped athletes' lives.

The players and staff who reside at the Gillette Infinity Esports house just outside Mexico City come from all over Latin America to compete in some of professional gaming's top League of Legends tournaments. Over the course of a season, players train and compete six days a week, leaving Mondays as a precious day off. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension of other professional sports around the world, esports have continued and even expanded. Infinity's five League of Legends players and five support staff members are adjusting to life in quarantine while pursuing greater heights among the esports elite.

Players and coaches live together at the Gillette Infinity Esports gaming compound in Mexico City and train up to 10 hours a day Tuesday through Friday in preparation for official matches on weekends. "It's grinding. Additionally, we have them work with nutritionists, psychologists and doctors," says Nicolas Lescano, part-owner of Infinity.
Roberto "Straight" Guallichico, left, of Ecuador, and Sergio "Cotopaco" Silva, right, of Colombia, do not take breaks from the game, even while they eat. League of Legends is one of professional gaming's biggest draws. For some 2018 World Championship matches that Infinity competed in, streaming audiences neared 41 million.
Fans of esports are more likely to recognize a top player by their online handle than their given name. The most famous gamer on the planet, Richard Blevins, is better identified as Ninja.
There are five roles or positions in League of Legends matches: marksman or ADC, support, jungler, bruiser and mid laner or APC, each with a specific set of responsibilities during a match.
After every training match, Cotopaco, Straight, Matias "WhiteLotus" Musso, Diego "SolidSnake" Vallejo, seen here from left to right, and Mariano "Genthix" Polonsky attend a coaching and film study session led by head coach Carlos "Soren" Ibarra.
Former pro player Gonzalo "Enatsu" Peredo, a native of Chile, was hired as an Infinity coach ahead of the 2020 season. Ex-pros often transition into coaching roles to offer experience and insight to gamers wishing to improve their performance.
Alan Cruz, front, and Federico Soldano, back, work as content creators employed by Infinity and live at the gaming house along with players and coaches. By way of social media, written articles and videos, Cruz and Soldano provide inside access for fans wanting to know more about Infinity's pro players.
“Gaming houses are a requirement to compete in certain leagues. For League of Legends, we have one in Mexico and another in Santiago, Chile.”
Following the completion of the Apertura (Opening) tournaments in the LVP Mexico and the Latin America League in April, Infinity's League of Legends staff will regroup for the Clausura (Closing) tournaments for both competitions later on this year.
The Gillette Infinity gaming house is located in Interlomas, a posh suburb outside Mexico City. The house features five bedrooms, as well as a dedicated gaming room and the analysis room, where players can hone their craft. "Gaming houses are a requirement to compete in certain leagues," says Lescano. "For League of Legends, we have one in Mexico and another in Santiago, Chile."
Nonessential businesses like barber shops have been ordered closed by the Mexican government during a stay-at-home order enacted in April, so Soldano has been designated house barber. "Most of these guys are far from home, so it's tough for them," says Lescano.
The shelter-in-place order has meant several changes in lifestyle for Infinity's players and staff, including the temporary suspension of weekly cleaning services within the three-story house.
Written by Eric Gomez

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