Grafton Grad Gives Back Through Proving Groundz
2004 Grafton Job Corps Center graduate Joseph “Tripp” Moody is taking his alumni role to the next level, opening his new esports venue to his fellow students.
Joseph is a co-founder of The Proving Groundz, a company geared to train the next generation of esports champs. He invites Grafton students to compete in his weekly gaming events and hopes to start workshops in esports broadcasting and online etiquette. Joseph said he wanted to do something for Job Corps since “They essentially saved my life.”
He recently shared his journey with Grafton students.
“As a young boy I was raised by my grandmother until she passed when I was 12. After her death, I bounced around the foster care systems for three years until the state located my mother and forced her to take me back into custody. She was not a willing participate, and I was eventually sent to live with my dad. By 17, I was a runaway and high school dropout. My life was spiraling downwards fast; I was homeless and traveling from state to state and couch to couch.
“When I was 24, Job Corps found me and has played a major role in my personal and business success. During my time in Job Corps I took up culinary arts. I learned my trade at a rampant pace and I graduated in just over four months.
“You might ask how this was possible; it was possible with a dream and drive. I was good at my trade and staff helped keep me on task and focused on my goals and dreams while also making me feel as part of a family, a team and a person with future independent of my past. I went on to earn my GED and trade diploma and through it all, the values I left Job Corps with are still with me today, ‘No one left behind.’
“The Proving Groundz was fostered and developed around the same principles. We accept gamers, streamers, broadcasters, fans and players of any level of interest or skill.
“I want to say to each and every student walking through the doors of Job Corps, ‘Do not give up on yourself, I will never give up on you, even if we never meet. You will forever be part of my family and I am proud to have faith in each of you.'”
Joseph’s uplifting story was featured in This Week in Worcester.
The Proving Groundz Announces Three New Fall Series Esports Tournaments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Proving Groundz Announces Three NEW Fall Series Esports Tournaments
Worcester MA, August 22, 2019 | The Proving Groundz (PGZ esports), a progressive esports company focused on the development of the next generation of esports professional, is pleased to announce in partnership with our sponsors, three new and exciting esports series for the Fall of 2019.
SMASH n SLICE Fall Series
In conjunction with our Sponsor Domino’s Pizza, The Proving Groundz will host the Smash n Slice Fall Series as an extension of the current weekly Smash n Slice Summer Series held every Tuesday evening at 7pm starting on October 1st to November 19th, at the Domino’s LAN Center located at 1413 Grafton Street in Worcester MA.
Offering the largest cash prizes in Massachusetts and free pizza too, the wildly popular Smash n Slice Series is Worcester’s only weekly esports tournament and attracts the best Smash Ultimate talent the region has to offer. Come in and show us what you got, $10 for players and $5 for fans.
MK11- Kombat Zone
At fan request, and in conjunction with our Sponsor, Domino’s Pizza, The Proving Grounds will host the regions first weekly Mortal Kombat 11 tournament, Kombat Zone on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm starting on October 2nd.
This new fighting tournament will be based on the EVO single elimination best of 5 format with random draw and played on the PS platform. Entrance: $10 for players and $5 for fans.
FIFA Fall Coach Series
The Savepoint Tavern and The Proving Groundz are happy to present FIFA 20 Fall Coach Series for a four night series starting on November 13th and continuing the proceeding three Wednesday evenings at 7 PM.
To be held at Worcester’s only video gaming bar, the Savepoint Tavern will host two of the nation’s best FIFA players for some one on one coaching and direct competition. Entry fees will be $10 and cash prizes will be awarded each week with a grand prize to the FIFA Fall Series winner.
About Savepoint Tavern| Savepoint Tavern is Worcester first and only video gaming bar built by gamers for gamers! Come and enjoy a pint and the latest game. Save Point Tavern can be visited at 57 Highland St. Worcester MA.
About The Proving Groundz|The Proving Groundz (PGZ) is a progressive esports company focused the growth and acquisition of new competitors by providing a unique path that trains players in their physical, mental & media capabilities. "We Provide Players with a Path to the Pros" www.theprovinggroundz.com
For More Information:
This Week in Worcester
August 10, 2019 Inside this Domino’s Pizza in Worcester is the Largest Weekly Esports Tournament in the City
Inside this Domino’s Pizza in Worcester is the Largest Weekly Esports Tournament in the City
Posted by John Curtin | Aug 11, 2019 |
WORCESTER – Not all that long ago, the idea of making money playing video games seemed absurd.
Comedian Tim McIntire used to joke about his day job as a game tester: “All these years later, I finally win that argument with my mom.”
Tournaments that once took place in small arcades now fill arenas. Fortnight has a player population larger than many countries, and the first ever Fortnight World Cup recently took place at Arthur Ashe Stadium (home of tennis’ U.S. Open), where 100 players battled for their share of $30 Million in prize money. Even Worcester will soon have two venues of its own: Save Point Tavern on Highland Street and TBD both set to open later this year.
And in Worcester, the only weekly esports tournament to be found is at the back of the Domino’s Pizza on Grafton St., known as The Proving Groundz.
Joe Moody, co-founder of The Proving Groundz, and his partner Dave McGillivray are looking to train the next generation of esports pros now.
Their company launched in July with a nine-week tournament in at Domino’s Pizza on Grafton Street, featuring the popular Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, in which players can choose from any number of licensed Nintendo characters [a Pokemon Trainer can square up against Donkey Kong, for example] and go head to head on one of a number of arena settings. The top three players each week get a cash prize.
“I want the kids to have that dream where anyone can make it in the industry if they know how, and that’s what we’re going to teach them,” said Moody, who originally envisioned opening a game store. But with more and more of the gaming industry online, he shifted his focus to esports. “People are just doing everything online now…I think I got the final push when (New England Patriots owner Robert) Kraft picked up the Boston Uprising [a professional esports team in the Atlantic Division of the Overwatch League].
McGillivray, a tech business veteran, is responsible for the vision of the company.“We have three different focuses for the company,” he said. “One of them being the tournament play, coaching, and training. What you see here is the early stages of that. We have a data analytics and artificial intelligence group that are working on using analytics to measure the performance of players for training and coaching, as well as to help increase the fan experience and draw advertisers.”
“When a player practices these days, they only know how to get better, without proper coaching, is just practice practice practice, sometimes 12 hours a day,” Moody said.
“Carpal Tunnel, neck problems, back problems…and stress problems. Lack of sleep, bad dieting,” he added. To try to avoid these things, Proving Groundz wants to train like the pros, so to speak. They want to use the analytics they collect from the weekly tournaments “to pinpoint a person’s weakness at a level, and then say ‘instead of practicing for eight hours a day and trying to get better, why not practice for three hours a day but focus on’” specific areas of improvement.
“Minute changes can change a players performance exponentially, but we have to figure out where those changes have to be,” Moody said. “We’re making competitors out of each and every one of them who want to do it.”
The training is not limited to playing video games.
“We’re also going to be teaching people broadcasting,” Moody said. “We can teach etiquette online, marketing, sportscasting. Esports commentators are big.”
To this end, the company has established a relationship with Job Corps, the career-training program for teens and young adults run by the U.S. Department of Labor. Several of the competitors each week come over from the Grafton campus). Moody, himself a Job Corps graduate — “They essentially saved my life” — said getting them involved was huge.
Moody said, “I wanted these games to bring these kids out and show them that people still think about them.”
In addition to the Job Corps students, the company has hired McGillivray’s son, Matt, as a recruiter and talent developer. “My job is to scout for players that we can coach and make better…we want to make sure that people’s talents are put to good use, because it’s not always recognized by their parents. That’s one of big missions here,” Matt said. “We just don’t want to leave talent on the table. There are a lot of kids that are great at video games, and there’s a lot of ways that can be translated into a career. We want to put something on someone’s resume. You can’t just go in and say you played Super Smash Bros. all the way through college. You want to say you played it professionally.”
The fourth member of the team is Cassius Shearer, who’s in charge of designing their merchandising. He has his own brand of clothing called Fresh Cash Studios, which he was sporting at the event on Tuesday.
“What we’ve experienced in the last two months has been unbelievable,” Dave McGillivray said. The success of the Fortnight World Cup has made the business even more attractive.
Dave McGillivray said, “I’m finding it’s very easy to get resources and stakeholders to engage. People are coming from Fortune 50 companies and looking at all this and saying ‘Yeah, I’ll help.’”
The Proving Groundz weekly Super Smash Bros. tournament continues every Tuesday night at 7 PM at Domino’s Pizza, 1413 Grafton Street in Worcester until Sept. 24.
Lead photo: Domino’s Pizza on Grafton St. in Worcester/Patrick Sargent for ThisWeekinWorcester.com
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