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Shacknews Esports Hero of 2020 - Shane 'Rapha' Hendrixson (Team Liquid)

Shane 'Rapha' Hendrixson's heart and determination drove him to one of esports's most meaningful victories of the year.

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Shane Hendrixson, better known to his fans and in the Quake scene as rapha, has been fragging since his father introduced him to id Software's iconic shooter at the age of 13. He's amassed numerous victories, but the collision of personal and professional circumstances in 2020 drove him to arguably his most meaningful.

In early June, rapha lost his partner and fellow pro player, Tori "llamachomper" Michele Parker, at the age of 27. He went quiet on social media after making the announcement, and re-emerged in early August as the grand champion of the Quake World Championship held during Bethesda's and id Software's QuakeCon at Home tournament. Already a professional as humble as he was talented, rapha's emotional interview following the grand finals put his character on full display.

"There was no way I was going to lose today," he said, fighting back tears. "I wasn't letting it happen."

The Shacknews editorial team recognizes athletes for more than their world-class talent at video games. Rapha's victory, and the words he shared afterwards, had to be cathartic for those watching. The world has suffered immeasurable losses in 2020, but rapha's fighting spirit and resolve to honor those he has lost by doing what he does best was a moment as uplifting as it was heartwrenching. His victory and the meaning it held for him and everyone watching made him a shoo-in for the Shacknews Esports Hero of 2020, and an example to those looking for a way to cope with their own struggle. Congratulations, rapha.


Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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