Cody Altman has stood about 5-foot-8 since high school.
The Canyon High alum and former football player learned from a young age that if he wanted to get playing time, he’d likely have to be tall and bulky.
He was neither.
He was bullied in middle school – barely reaching 5 feet – and as a center for his prep football team he only got in the game during garbage time.
As the players around him were getting recruiting and signing to play at Division I schools, he crafted a different plan, playing an alternative sport that tested his mental acuity rather than physical prowess: esports. The sport gives digital aficionados such as Altman a chance to shine.
“It was an escape,” he said. “This is my place where I have my own alter ego. Nobody knows who I am.”
“That fueled me to want to better myself,” Altman said, “and that’s what I feel drove me to become such a good esports player that I am today.”
Altman earned a full athletic scholarship to Maryville University in St. Louis. The rising junior recently helped the esport team win the North American University League of Legends Collegiate Championship – besting the University of Toronto.
He said the team practiced anywhere between four to six a day, and Altman, who calls himself “nocturnal,” would stay up as late as 4 a.m. working out.
“It’s an exhilarating feeling just to be able to be on that stage where the pros play,” Altman said of the championship win. “For me coming out of high school, not knowing what I was going to do, and to do that on that stage was an amazing feeling. Having my family there supporting me made me feel on top of the world that day.”
Altman will head to Wuhan, China for the 2017 League of Legends International College Cup on July 13-16. The finals will be held in Taipei, Taiwan on Aug. 5-6.
“It’s an awesome feeling to have that pay off, all those hours of gaming through high school,” Altman said. “I want people to recognize that esports is the…