This weekend, NBC has been hosting a Rocket League tournament, offering a unique chance for 2v2 players to show off their well-honed skills and potentially be featured on a national broadcast. One such Rocket League aficionado, Josh “JumpOnStuff” Russo, jumped on the opportunity to participate. Unfortunately, things took a turn when Russo’s teammate was no longer able to make it to the open. That’s when an unlikely but incredible replacement stepped up to the plate: Russo’s father.
Two days before Russo was set to put his Rocket League prowess to the test, his excitement was squashed when his fellow teammate reportedly “bailed” on the tournament. Taking to Twitter to unpack his disappointment, Russo wrote that he was “frustrated, upset, and embarrassed” and apologized to those who were looking forward to watching him in the 2v2 open.
When all hope seemed lost, less than two hours before the first game was slated to begin, Russo revealed that he discovered a solution. “I actually found the best stand-in teammate, so tune in at 12:30 to find out who,” he wrote on Twitter. The surprise fill-in was none other than Russo’s father, Nick, who was, ironically but understandably, not all that familiar with Rocket League. Despite the looming learning curve, the elder Russo still came out in solidarity with his son and bore the “Actually Toxic” team name.
In the opening match against G2-A, Russo’s father, who went by the in-game name “Dad,” started off a bit awkwardly. Though he fumbled, as would anyone learning the ins and outs a PlayStation 4 game during a television competition, he eventually made sense of Rocket League‘s impressive custom cars, located the gas and brakes, and found a gameplay groove. As players darted and dashed across the field, chasing after the giant soccer ball, Dad gained momentum that culminated in an incredible moment for the father-son duo: he actually scored a goal.
Though the game wound up being a loss for the Russos, Dad won the hearts of countless Rocket League players, the open’s commentators, and the whole of social media. Many gave him the accolade of Most Valuable Player in the match-up, and the younger Russo even called his father a “legend” on Twitter.
Once the game came to a close, Dad spoke with an interviewer and stated that playing in the Rocket League tournament was “one of the best father-son experiences [he’s] ever had.” As for his unexpected goal? He was either very lucky or incredibly clever: He didn’t know how to turn around, so he simply drove backwards into it.
With a fan base of 33 million players and counting, and having been the most downloaded PS4 game of 2016, Rocket League is clearly one of the best-loved titles on the market today. Throw in a heartwarming story of a father and son bonding over the game, and it seems Rocket League is now more charming than ever before.
Rocket League is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.