Hoarse voices, $13 cans, and the unmistakable sound of soggy socks in post-shoey shoes squelching around in the Sydney CBD. This is IEM Sydney. This is esports Down Under.
There’s a plethora of events and activities to talk about but there’s one that hits close to home for me, something that I absolutely must bring into the spotlight: “Row F”.
What is Row F? No my dear readers, Row F isn’t a seat designation—it’s the loudest people in the arena. It’s the chant-starters, the shoey-skullers, the energy of the arena. It’s the same group of people every damn Counter-Strike event that shows up to get loud and proud.
It’s the community casters, the players—the connoisseurs of Counter-Strike. Names like 2sBs, Happeh, Flamboyant, HazDaddySlim, and many more absolute legends all lent their voices to the cause, throwing energy at the players, casters, Twitch Chat, and God Mode attendees.
And, like it did at DH Melbourne, Row F grew to become more than an individual or small group effort to enhance the viewing experience.
I had the pleasure to be amongst these fine people during IEM Sydney and really got down and around into the mindset of these LAN larrikins.
I saw for myself the confidence and inspiration these people awaken to the surrounding arena (well, anyone within screaming distance).
The term Row F was born at Dreamhack 2023, although many of the members have been to countless Counter-Strike events including previous iterations of IEM Sydney which brought fame to the rowdy Aussie crowd.
As we gathered in Row F this time around, our seats became our identity. Risen from the ashes of beer-soaked shoes, emerging from the smoke of vapes and durrys, we will always be there.
Finally, this year at IEM Sydney, Row F was recognised by ESL and by everyone else in the general vicinity. We have recruited, we have grown and you know without a doubt that at the next LAN, Row F will be gathered once again to scream and yell and chant until our voices break.
My name is RareWolf, and I am Row F.