In this article from our Behind the Screen series, we interviewed Jimmy “Jimmer” Jordan, the Head Coach for the Charlotte Phoenix Rocket League Team. Jimmer, who earned a degree in Power Engineering, has a true passion for teaching as well as learning, taking on many different jobs and hobbies but still striving for more.
Jimmer explains how he got into esports, what it’s like juggling three jobs, and the best advice he has ever received. He also shares his favorite Phoenix team moments and top video game picks during quarantine.
Have you played any new games during quarantine?
Yes, I’ve played the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Doom Eternal, & Animal Crossing: New Horizons!
What are some things you like about being home right now?
Being at home right now has been great as it has given me more time to focus on the team as well as tackle some projects on my Honey-do list.
How did you choose your username/gamertag?
My name actually comes from the cult classic film Escanaba in Da Moonlight. My cousin is from the Upper Peninsula (where the movie takes place) and from the time I was about 8 he has always called me Jimmer. So I just kind of owned it, I guess.
When did you start playing video games?
I started playing video games consistently in about 1993/1994. A lot of my older cousins gave me their hand-me-down games and systems, which gave me a sizeable catalog to play through. I never really stopped playing after that. But it was mostly story games and single player titles. I never had the opportunity to play games online until about 2014 when I bought my own house.
How did you become a head coach for Rocket League?
My path to coaching is a rather strange one. I’ve never played professionally. I fell in love with Rocket League when it released, but quickly found that I had no IRL friends to play with, so after some time, I moved onto other games, but it always bothered me that it was so difficult to play Rocket League well. I eventually started playing again when it released on Xbox and I bumped into Jamesbot. We started talking on Discord and eventually he introduced me to RLC and to CloudFuel. I started helping where I could with tournaments and saw a deficit in logo design. So I took it upon myself to teach myself some minor graphic design and tried to help some unsigned teams have a more polished look. As the scene progressed, I saw players making crucial professional flaws on social media and decided that I would really like to work with players to help them become professionals. Karma and I started talking after I made some graphics for her and after a while she offered me the opportunity to work with her and her team. I still work at the power plant as a Unit Operator (operating coal fired boilers that generate power for the Midwest) and recently also took on a position as the Head Coach of Esports at a nearby college in Michigan.
What kind of leader are you?
I would say that I’m a leader that tries to find balance. I prefer to lead by example and my primary focus is ensuring that when possible, decisions are made as a team.
What is your favorite moment you have shared with your team?
I have enjoyed so much of the time I get to spend with those guys. We have shared in some fantastic success, and we have been together when we have fallen short. But I’d say my favorite times together are the times we spend outside of work, hanging out in Discord cracking jokes and just gaming together as friends.
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
The Big Lebowski is probably one of my favorite films followed by Reservoir Dogs.
Do you watch traditional sports? If so, what is your favorite team?
Growing up just outside of metro Detroit in the 90’s kind of forced me to fall in love with hockey. I’m a huge Red Wings fan and I tend to root for Michigan teams (yeah, even the Lions…)
What is the most interesting thing you have done in the past year?
Probably playing live at DreamHack Dallas.
What are you most proud of?
Easily my team. The gang works so hard every day and watching them grow and develop is so rewarding.
What video game world would you like to live in?
I’ve always thought the Bioshock series had such a neat setting.
Who do you look up to the most and why?
I look up to a lot of people for different reasons. Mike Babcock was always a coach that inspired me; his look always made me feel that even when you have achieved success, you still have more to work for, that you could have done it better. One of my favorite quotes is one of his: “Life is about maximizing what you’ve been given.” Another person that I really look up to is my Dad. His patience and understanding combined with his ability to speak to someone clearly and directly is on a level that I can only hope to achieve one day.
Who is your favorite singer or band?
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My dad once told me, “Jimmy, don’t sweat the small stuff; and it’s all small stuff,” and I simply cannot find a situation where that doesn’t hold true.
What is your favorite meal or snack?
Chocolate Chip cookies are my kryptonite.
If you could give advice to players looking to improve at Rocket League, what would your advice be?
I would probably tell players that improvement doesn’t need to be linear. There are so many different aspects to Rocket League that you can’t just focus on one thing. Growth happens organically and naturally. How you spend your time influences that growth and the changes you will see. If you always look to refine and hone all your skills, you will better develop as a player. And most importantly, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.