Sport: American Football
Position: Defensive Linebacker
Club: Amsterdam Crusaders
Dutch National Team: The Dutch lions
Dijohn Ronde is a defensive linebacker for the Dutch national team, The Dutch Lions. Besides that he plays with the Amsterdam Crusaders. The Crusaders won the national championship in 2016. Dijohn has won several national- and European titles in his career.
Dijohn, what is it a linebacker does?
“An American Football team consists of 2 parts, the defense and the offence, which line up at different times. If the opponent has the ball, their offense is on the field and we have our defense on the field. The defense will prevent the offense from scoring. My task is to stop the player in front of me if he has the ball, so he can’t gain any yards, preferably by taking him down.”
You play for the National team and your club as well. How hard is your physical training?
“It takes a lot of time, you have to train your body in the gym and you have to practice with your club- and national team. In the off season I’m in the gym 4 days a week, but during the season only 2 because of field practice. The field practice consists of conditioning and technique. Besides that, you have to watch your nutrition and what you’re drinking. I drink a lot of water instead of drinks that contain sugar. Luckily I have a wife, she cooks healthy stuff and takes great care of me. In season you eat differently, more carbs and well, more of everything really.”
Besides your job and your sport, you game a lot. What games do you prefer?
“The whole Final Fantasy series, The Devil May Cry and the whole God of War series. I love all fighting games like Tekken, Streetfighter, Dead or Alive, Soul Caliber, and Mortal Kombat. Other than that, I do a lot of cosplay. I like to choose characters that fit my body, because it will line up better that way. Cosplay doesn’t have any rules, I don’t choose a cosplay because I find it a dope character, the body or stature must fit me. The making of the parts and props is what I enjoy the most, wearing it is the reward of your hard work, showing it and the appreciation you get is the closure.”
How did you get into cosplay?
“I have always been a Halloween fan. Dressing up one time a year was amazing. I was looking for ways to do that more often and that’s how I came accross cosplay in Japan. To be honest I already knew that, because I watch anime too, but this is how I figured out there’s a scene in The Netherlands as well which actually attracts 7 to 8 thousand people a day. Together with my two younger nephews I went to a convention with a partly homemade Deadpool suit. Wearing that suit I got a lot of compliments and looked way more professional than others so that triggerd me to make more outfits with different kinds of materials as well. I got more into it, did more research and spend more time to improve myself.”
Do the boys in your team laugh at you?
“Yes and no. The boys, we always throw shots at each other, taunt and pick on each other. We’ve been doing that for 18 years and it will never stop, so this is an easy thing to use against me. I was on tv with my Scorpion outfit (Mortal Kombat) on Galileo (ep. 18 in 2016). Scorpion always says “get over here” in the game, then throws a spear and pulls the opponent towards him. So now it’s always ‘Hey Djoez, get over here’ and then they say something stupid. It’s just horsing around, but they definitely have respect because they know how hard it is to make an outfit and know they can’t do it themselves. They’ve also asked me to help out with Halloween- or carnival outfits, but it’s a fun thing to use against me.”
How many hours a week do you spent gaming?
“The games are a bit expensive now with the PS4 and the Xbox One, but if I could play any game it would definitely be half my time off, about 20 hours a week.”
You are an elite athlete and a gamer, there is a discussion on whether Esports is a sport at all. Do you think Esports is a sport?
“Yes, definitely! The amount of time and effort alone that go into it make it really tough mentally. At a certain moment, you’re just done with it and want to quit. That’s the same with traditional sports. Two weeks ago, I was in the gym for the 5th time that week and I really had to push myself towards the end, you actually want to stop, but you know your own goal and will stay at it. That’s the same with esports, those dudes are training for a tournament and want to be the best. It takes a lot of time and effort, being the best.”
You’re making a difference between physical and mental, is it physically not an elite sport?
“Not as much, but people who play chess have to put a lot of thought about a next move and what his opponent might do too. Why is that considered a sport, but esports is not? Chess also takes a lot of effort. One sport just is physically more challenging than the other.”
Is the amount of fans a criterion to consider something a sport?
“No, not to my opinion, but it does represent the interest there is in that sport. It’s not about the fan base, but the fan base shows how much is it appreciated.”
In Esports, a lot of concentration enhanced products are being used, like Ritalin. Is there a type of drug used in your sport, like anabolics?
“In the sport itself, yes, but not in Europe or significantly less than in the US. They play at a much higher level and the sport has a very different value for their culture. Drug use is typical for any sport on an elite level, irrespectively, people need something to get- or stay the best at what they do.”