We sat down with Jaime “Karma” Bickford to learn more about her life offline, including her past women’s basketball career, who inspires her the most, and her love for fighter aircrafts. Learn how Karma chose her name, when she started playing video games, and more in our Behind the Screen article series.
Have you played any new games during quarantine?
I have played the new game VALORANT obviously. I also just started playing Minecraft. It’s not really a new game, but it is new to me. I’m about a month in, and it’s a pretty good game.
How did you choose your Username/Gamertag?
I wanted to pick something cool, but I didn’t want it to be too cool or nerdy. So I started thinking about words that had deep meanings. I thought “Karma” would be a good name because it was feminine and also meant a lot to me. I went through a lot when I was younger dealing with some health issues, and I thought if I channeled karma into my life and my gaming that my luck would start to turn around. And I’m super happy with where I am now.
When did you start playing video games?
I started playing video games when I was about 14. Growing up, I loved sports and would play any sport I could. I was scouted for college teams in women’s basketball when I was in middle school. After my doctors recommended stepping back from sports, I struggled to find an activity that I enjoyed. One of my friends recommended playing Call of Duty once I was staying home more. I’d never really played video games, but I had a great time playing games on the computer. It felt like sports to me because I was competing against other people. I was so focused on getting better than I stopped worrying about other pressures in life and fell in love with gaming that way.
How did you decide to go pro in Rocket League?
I thought the game had a lot of potential. Before Rocket League, I was a pro Hearthstone player but I didn’t like the direction the game was going and was looking for something new to go pro in. Going pro in Rocket League was always my intention, and it took a lot longer than I thought, but I eventually got there.
Who do you look up to the most and why?
My pick is Tom Brady. I’m from Boston so sports are in my blood. I have watched Brady compete since I was a kid, and I always thought he was the ultimate competitor with a great mindset. I liked how he approached things as a team. But the main reason I looked up to him is because he wasn’t picked first. I experienced that in my career as well, but I kept trying out for more teams. I looked up to Brady when I was in those situations and thought, “Well, Tom Brady wasn’t picked first either, and look at how well he’s doing!”
Do you have any inside jokes with your team? If so, can you describe one?
Yeah, Shadow likes to impersonate me by fake-chewing gum and talking in a Starbucks, valley girl voice.
What is your favorite car to use in Rocket League and what is your favorite decal?
Proteus is my favorite car. My favorite decal is probably Tidalstream right now.
What video game world would you like to live in?
The Witcher. The places in the game look really pretty, and then I saw the TV show on top of that, and I was just drawn in. It looks like the kind of medieval place you want to be in.
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
Movie: Forrest Gump
Show: The Office
Who is your favorite singer or band?
I was super excited to see My Chemical Romance. They’re one of my favorite bands of all time, and they just started touring this year. I was going to go to the UK to see them, but now it’s cancelled now [due to COVID-19]. My other favorite band is probably Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and Frank Sinatra is the GOAT.
If you could give advice to players looking to improve at Rocket League, what would your advice be?
Quality playtime is more important than quantity!
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’d like to have a city home and a farm home. I love food, and Italy seems like it has the best reputation for food that I would enjoy.
If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a pilot so badly. One of the nerdiest things about me is that I’ve always been interested in fighter planes. It’s just something about the way the planes move through the air, like a painting or something, that interests me. It’s so pretty, the way they spin through the air… kind of like Rocket League!
What is your favorite stadium in Rocket League?
Beckwith Park Midnight.
Aside from Rocket League, what is your favorite game?
I’d have to pick Fortnite. I really enjoy it.
What is your favorite meal or snack?
Meal: Filet Mignon
Snack: Gummy Bears and Goldfish
What’s something many people fear that doesn’t scare you at all?
Spiders. My dad and I used to watch nature documentaries. He taught me a lot about conservation and fighting for animals. So I learned to appreciate life in all forms, and if I see a bug or spider, I take him out to the window and let him go.
How does it feel to be the only female pro player in Rocket League?
The title has never defined me. I have always approached my career regardless of my gender. As great as it is to be looked up to by other women in the community and to set a precedent, part of me wishes it wasn’t as big of a deal, and I could be treated just like everyone else. I want to be talked about as a great player, not just the best female player.