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How my Shoulder Injury Led to me Learning Mandarin

Jake from Game Academy

When injuries put an end to Cameron ‘Shed’ Edwards playing rugby union he had to find a new way to channel his competitive energy. It led to him learning not one but two new languages.

And yes - you guessed it coming from us at Game Academy - it was playing video games that led him there.

Cameron, 24, was left in a sling for nearly 10 weeks after his third shoulder dislocation and third subsequent surgery in 2017 which took him out of the rugby game and into another.

In a special interview with us, Cameron said: “I was super-sad about having to quit, since it was such a big part of my life. During that time I was pretty bored and then one of my friends suggested that we kill some time by playing Age of Empires 2.

“Then from there we started playing 2v2s on HD, where we got completely destroyed,” he laughed.

But Cameron soon “caught the AoE2 bug” and has been playing ever since. In fact, he has previously reached the top 150 players in the world and streams for fun on the side.

While Cameron was disappointed to have to give up rugby, Age of Empires 2 turned out to be a good substitute.

“For better or worse, competitive multiplayer games filled that competitive hole in my heart quite nicely,” he said.

One of the great things about online gameplay is how it can connect people from all over the world - and Cameron has certainly experienced that.

Living in Australia, he found that the only high level games on social gaming network Voobly he could play were with other countries in the region due to timezones. But this ended up being a great gift.

At first he resorted to using Google Translate during games which - as you could imagine - went pretty disastrously.

Cameron said: “During 2018-2019 we probably played about 1000 team games with teams from China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“I became friends with the players from Hong Kong and Taiwan and decided that I wanted to be able to communicate with them. This led me down the path of trying to learn the two languages.”

Cameron is now becoming more competent in Mandarin! Cantonese is a work in progress.

“To me, the cross-cultural friendships I’ve made in Age of Empires 2 are the things I cherish the most,” says Cameron.