While in New Orleans covering the Gears of War tournament, I was immediately drawn to the brilliant energy of Jourdan Kerl. You can’t miss her, she brings so much passion and personality to the broadcast team. I love how you can tell she has to contain her excitement with the rest of us as she conducts interviews and provides viewers with updates and tournament analysis. I cannot tell you how excited I am to introduce Jourdan to the SG readership as she was kind enough to grant me an interview.
Rebecca Rothschild: What is it about the GOW esports community that makes it so special for you?
Jourdan Kerl: Although I’ve never played GoW competitively, I have played the game for 10 years since Gears of War 2. The passion within this community is really unmatched, which you can see in every single game during any event or on many players streams. It’s one of those special titles that I believe resonates with so many diverse communities. I’m also willing to bet that it’s one of the most diverse esports scene. That goes from the players, which span many different countries and cultures, the officials and even the broadcast team. This diversity is also reflected throughout the game in its lead characters.
RR: Would you consider yourself a lifelong gamer?
JK: 100%. Without question, I will always be a gamer. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been one of the guys. I grew up an only child with two boy cousins, who played with LEGOs and video games. I wanted to be the one standing in line when the latest title dropped at midnight in GameStop. I’ve always found peace in gaming. I’ll always be a gamer.
RR: What are some of your pursuits outside of gaming?
JK: Currently, I’m earning my master’s degree in journalism. My focus in this venture is to become an esports host/producer, so I guess it isn’t really “outside of gaming.” Haha! What can I say? I guess I can’t get away from it. Right now, it’s mainly graduate school. Since the program I’m currently in is a year-long venture, it takes up most (if not, all) of my time. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends and exploring new cities, since I’ve moved about 3 times in the last year.
RR: Esports has come a long way, but there is always room for improvement. In what ways do you think esports could continue to improve upon itself?
JK: I think diversity is the biggest struggle right now for esports. I say that not just from a cultural perspective, but also for more women to be included in the competitive scene. There are talented female gamers out there, but I wonder how much of an effort is being made to recruit them.
RR: What would you say to people who are interested in esports but are fearful about being accepted by the community?
JK: I would say that I don’t know anyone who has been successful that didn’t take a risk. One of my professors told me during undergraduate career before a major presentation that “You can only be the performer or the audience. Depending on where you decide to stand, you’ll be received accordingly.” I really took this advice with me going into my first reporting event for the Gears Pro Circuit New Orleans event. I worried about how I would be received, but I constantly reminded myself that I could do this and that I was here for a reason. The feedback I received from the event was overwhelmingly positive, and I still tell myself how unbelievably blessed I was to be able to work that event. At a recent NABJ convention I attended, one of the guest panelists asked the audience, “if you knew what was on the other side of fear, would you still be afraid?”
One last note on this question, to be completely candid, as a woman entering a male-dominated industry, there is no feeling like being the only one in the room. However, that has never stopped me. I don’t think anything should ever stop someone from chasing their dreams either.
RR: When did you know you wanted to be more than just a spectator when it came to esports?
JK: Initially, I wanted to develop video games, which is why my bachelor’s degree is in computer science. However, the first job that I really wanted was to be a meteorologist, but that didn’t last long considering my fear of tornados. Back to gaming, I always read GameInformer magazine growing up and watched IGN. I found that — although, I can develop and code games — I wanted to dictate the stories and create content around gaming, but didn’t really know how. I attended graduate school to figure out how to develop my skills on camera and create my lane in esports. 11 months later, I’ve served as a floor reporter at a Gears of War event, freelanced for several esports publications and now hoping to continue to produce content for esports in bigger ways. I’ve never been a “sit and watch” kind of girl though; I’ve got a lot of ideas, so that wouldn’t do. Anything is possible!
I want to thank Jourdan for taking the time to chat with me. Keep an eye out for Jourdan on the Gears Pro Circuit streams and follow her on social media (IG & Twitter: @jourdankerl).
There is no esports fandom quite like the one that is dedicated to the Gears of War Pro Circuit. They have patented their own signature brand of hype. That’s why I was elated that the entirety of the GOW hype machine was making their way down to New Orleans, a city that can house their level of passion.
It seemed like there was a record breaking amount of roster swapping this season, but the truth it has become the norm. It took me a moment to orientate myself with who was now playing with who. My tournament notes were a complete mess. There were so many solid performances this weekend so I guess it all worked out, even if I’m a little cross-eyed.
Optic Slaps Another Brick On The Wall
I was playing catch up before coming to NOLA and watching what had been going down in the circuit this season. I came to the Big Easy with the understanding that I would most likely see an optic victory, however there were plenty of moments where it was in question. Echo Fox made a noteworthy effort all weekend long to be a thorn in the side of Optic. There were countless moments where I thought the check Icy’s mouth was writing could very well be cashed. These two were going at it hard and it was wildly entertaining.
EVERYONE on these two teams were in fine form. There were only a few games where it seemed as though Mental was a little off, but he bounced right back to seal the deal. It honestly felt like he was experimenting with new strategies. As for Echo Fox, strategy was definitely on the front of their minds. Part of what pushed their team to second place was their signature smooth rotations and killer smoke grenade usage.
Favorite Series: Elevate v. EU’s Finest
While Elevate was perhaps a little shaky in their dealings with EU’s Finest, they managed to hold their own and make some serious moves. Elevate worked hard to play to their strengths and they were able to rally after a very strong start from EU’s. I would say Elevate forced EU’s to pull out some of their fancier tricks. Marsh was making himself quite a nuisance with his evasion capabilities which unfortunately for Elevate, helped disrupt their rotations. In the end EU’s Finest simply had tighter rotations and a more solid grasp on the map.
Tip Of My Hat to Ghost Gaming
I have to say Ghost Gaming surprised me a lot at this event. I saw a great deal of focus and I could honestly have seen them making it into top three without much of a problem. Alas, they’ll have to settle for 4th for now, but they earned that spot no question. They had several instances of pure momentum going. I think the only slip up from what I saw wasn’t so much technical as it was mental. When they would get stopped short they seemed to have a hard time getting back the same amount of gusto. When they were on, they were playing flawlessly you could see them truly enjoying themselves.
This particular event was also host to Halo’s HCS which meant double the fun for me as I made my best effort to cover both. I have to say, as far as which side was having more fun…I respectfully have to give that title to the Gears side of the room. I’ll be curious to see how this all shakes out in San Diego.