In 2011, Dorothy Schmale dropped off her 14-year-old son at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York City. Until then, Michael’s obsession with videogames had seemed like any other hobby.
Sure, Schmale worried about the time gaming took away from his homework, but it kept him out of trouble. Now, here she was, sending him off on a 13-plus-hour bus ride to Columbus, Ohio, where he would compete in his first major tournament for Call of Duty. “It was hard for me to let him go,” she says. “But that’s really when I knew this was going to take off.”