The deadly attacks carried out in Christchurch, New Zealand on two mosques on March 15 is a fresh wound being felt around the world. As New Zealand authorities continue to work on identifying the 50 individuals that were slain in the massacre, it surfaced recently that one of the individuals killed was Atta “crazyarab” Elayyan, a former professional Counter-Strike player.
Growing CS in New Zealand
Elayyan, 33 years old, was a Kuwait-born New Zealander whose earliest roots in Counter-Strike stretched back to 2002 where he participated in small LANs at Canterbury University. Though Elayyan failed to be inducted into any “invite-level” teams at the start of his CS career, migrating to Source during the great divide between that and 1.6 had given him an early lead in the competitive scene.
After parting ways with his former clan, Elayyan went on to join a team called Newtype alongside teammates Grudge, Atvar and Supertech – whom he admits, were a “bunch of randoms” at that stage of the game. Dedication to perfecting their craft had led Elayyan and company at Newtype to major success within the Oceanic region in the early years of Source.
A focused and consistent practice schedule saw the group toppling Australia’s finest teams on a regular basis, and with most of New Zealand’s strongest CS talent still tied up with 1.6, Newtype had taken reigns over the Source scene. At the time, xLAN was New Zealand’s premiere tournament and Newtype was practically unstoppable – winning several titles in convincing fashion.
In 2008, Elayyan had decided to step away from competitive CS as he “wasn’t able to sustain the level of play needed to stay up with the rest” while juggling his education. Despite Elayyan’s exit, Newtype had carried on their supremacy by winning the xLAN Source competition that year against Boneshot and he himself forged a legacy of his own.
Life after Counter-Strike
Elayyan’s decision to move away from CS and dial-in on his Computer Science degree was one that parlayed his career outside of competing into new heights. Following graduation, Elayyan began working as a UX designer for FireTrust, a computer security company, among a slew of other technology projects. After founding a media solutions company, Lazyworm Apps with a friend, Elayyan had his big breakthrough in the development of MetroTube – a groundbreaking Windows 8 app that was, at one point, the most popular app on the Windows store.
After finding great success in the tech industry, Elayyan still referenced Counter-Strike as having a heavy hand in his later endeavors. “I never thought I would ever be in a position to say this however I actually owe a lot to CS. I would have never gotten into the tech industry had I not been obsessed with gaming during those years and the hours of focus, intense gameplay and desire to succeed has actually helped me a lot in many aspects of my life”.
Elayyan’s competitive nature didn’t stop at CS or tech either, turning his passion for futsal [indoor soccer] into a professional career as a goalkeeper for the New Zealand Futsal Whites – the country’s national team.
A heavy outpouring of affection and support of those at whom had associated with Elayyan was displayed in an article by New Zealand Football following the news of his death. Futsal Development Manager at New Zealand, Josh Margetts, had touched on Elayyan’s character in light of the recent events: “Atta was a great man and well-liked by everyone in the Futsal Whites squad and the futsal community,” said Margetts. “There are no words to sum up how we are all feeling. There is [sic] huge hole in our hearts as we come to terms with the loss of a great person and a good mate. He will be sorely missed.”
A Lasting Legacy
The volume and emotion of these testimonials is a clear indication of Elayyan’s character – competitive, genuine, caring, and loved. Following the attack, Elayyan left behind him a wife and 2-year old daughter; his father, who was present at the time of the shooting was one of the few that survived.
You can support the family of Atta Elayyan by donating to a GiveALittle initiative that was created in his name. The charity has raised over $50,000 at the time of publication.