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Life & Work with Charlie White

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlie White.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I moved to Santa Monica eight years ago seeking balance in my life after burning out working in San Francisco for a few years at gaming tech startups. In Los Angeles, I was introduced to a new sport called beach handball. It was a new Team USA National Team Program founded right here in Hermosa Beach. Entering my mid-thirties, I didn’t think I would get to compete at an elite level again. However, I fell in love with the sport and began training all the time for it. After two years of trying out and training in the player pool, I made the USA National Team! It was a dream come true and this journey has completely changed my life and brought me newfound happiness.

We don’t always get 2nd chances and the opportunity to train and compete and represent the United States internationally has really been a dream come true in a way I never anticipated. In 2019, the USA beach handball team won a gold medal at my first international tournament, a continental qualifier for the North America and the Caribbean. I came off the bench to lead the team in scoring in the finals versus Mexico. Since then I’ve gotten to travel all over the world to compete; Brazil, Russia, Qatar, Spain, Poland, Canary Islands, Mexico, Portugal and Italy. A trainer at a beach workout in Marina del Rey recommend me to a casting director and I got to appear and win on National TV for a reality competition show called “Ultimate Tag” on FOX. And now, I’m currently training to compete this summer in the IHF World Championships in Greece and the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. The USA team has one of the most athletic and talented teams in the world and I have high hopes for us to do big things on the world stage.

It isn’t always easy to balance a full-time job developing games, the constant training and the international competitions but it’s always worth it. All areas of my life have improved and I love being on this journey. I hope the best is still to come.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Every tournament has a new selection process and the most difficult obstacle for me was breaking into a championship team and earning a spot on the roster. As an older athlete that did not come from a handball background, I felt I had to constantly exceed expectations on the court. But, I couldn’t get any playing time at first. I really had to be ready when I got my opportunity finally came and it wasn’t easy to be patient. I did a lot of training on my own and I looked for ways to play outside the USA program, organizing a trip to compete in the Polish PGNiG Summer Superliga and every time I didn’t make the roster I would train harder and look for more ways to improve my game.

The sport is also relatively unknown in the United States and so it’s also a constant struggle looking for sponsors and ways to support the team. It’s actually a really exciting, high-scoring game played 4v4 on the beach. I really appreciate all the players, teammates, trainers, companies and friends that have supported me along the way. It’s really meant a lot, more than I can express in words.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
The rigorous structure and daily discipline I got from pursuing beach handball has really improved all areas of my life. I’ve gotten in great physical shape, maybe the best of my life. My career in game development also improved. I think daily exercise, cutting out things that don’t add value and really staying present and focused in every area brought new energy and success.

I still work full time as a UX Designer on video games and have enjoyed greater success and fulfillment over the years and a year and a half ago I accepted a new position at the company of my dreams, Blizzard Entertainment. It’s been a journey and with every setback, there was an opportunity to grow and come back stronger. The balance and focus in my life has never been better and I’ve never been happier.

What are your plans for the future?
It has been an amazing journey and I hope it’s not over yet! We just defended our title as the back-to-back North American and Caribbean Continental Champions and this summer I hope to represent the United States in the World Championships and the World Games. We have a very talented team and I want to be up there on the podium at the end of it! I hope new generations of players can be inspired by our performance on the world stage.

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Image Credits:

Paweł Jakubowski | Ultimate Tag on FOX | Marcos Domínguez | Maria Boldina

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