Everett Coleman is up for a challenge - "The Weekly Challenge."
On Dec. 21, Coleman, known as "Small" on the video game circuit, opened D-Pad, a Glen Rose storefront that offers a LAN (local area network) gaming center. D-Pad invites gamers to kick back and share their love of electronic sports (e-sports) with like-minded individuals and its resident professional - Coleman.
His love of video games - and more recently acquired fame - is centered on the video game Halo, a science fiction, first person shooter, series. Coleman began playing Halo at age 8, and attended his first full-scale tournament as a spectator in Columbus, Ohio at 15.
"I immediately knew I wanted to pursue a career in competitive gaming," he said.
Fast forward to about two years ago, following several events behind the controller, Colemen was elevated to professional gamer status. He remains under contract with Major League Gaming (MLG), one the industry's premier e-sports organizations, which was founded in 2002.
Coleman landed in the pro world as a Halo 3 coach, putting his knowledge to work for team Ambush at another competition in Columbus. At that point, gamers who ranked in the top 16 were considered professionals. Ambush took 13th place. Coleman immediately engaged in conversations with MLG representatives, saying he was ready to dedicate himself to gaming. Soon after, he signed a contract with the organization and became a licensed coach in June 2011.
Professional passes, jerseys emblazoned with "Coach Small" and money followed the rise in status.
"Ambush started it all," he said.
In the height of his stardom, Coleman and his family moved to Glen Rose, Ambush split up and he began searching for a new team. Still a new face on the pro circuit, Coleman said he had all but lost hope when he received a call from "StrongSide," MLG professional gamer Michael Cavanaugh. Coaching Cavanaugh and team Heaven and Earth, led to a ninth place title before the team disbanded.
Then came what Coleman calls the second most exciting moment of his career - the first being his professional accomplishment - alongside Tom "Tsquared" Taylor, who had invited him to coach Str8 Rippin'.
Coleman made his third trip to Columbus, his "lucky place."
"We had an amazing tournament," he recalled. "It was a double elimination tournament, and we were knocked down to the losers' bracet early on by team Instinct."
Str8 Rippin' climbed its way back up the ranks while playing more rounds than any other team in the tournament - 15 hours of back-to-back gaming for two consecutive days. And they landed in the championship match, once again facing off against team Instinct.
"We were exhausted and ended up placing second," Coleman said. "I would say $12,000 wasn't bad for a weekend in Ohio, competing against 200 something teams from all over the world."
The professional gig comes with sponsorships, endorsements and of course bragging rights. His evolution from a boy who teamed up with his brother on the first edition of Halo to a young man who led teams of the some of the industry's greatest, Coleman said he now has something else on his mind.
"I am trying to break out of the MLG, Halo bubble," he said.
D-Pad is where that branching out will begin - through the hosting of weekly tournaments, "The Weekly Challenge," for big video game names like StarCraft, Call of Duty and Halo. Gamers will be able to join in from the comfort of their own homes or the local store. The tournaments will be broadcast through a studio set up a the D-Pad headquarters.
"It's a way for me to bring competitive gaming to Glen Rose," Coleman said.
But the business won't stop in there. Coleman also plans to make post-game productions compiling films and commentary which he will also broadcast.
While the storefront provides something for local residents, the studio will serve a much larger audience, tuning in through the World Wide Web.
"If I wanted to just play it safe, I could continue coaching," Coleman said. "But I want to establish myself as more than just a Halo coach. I want to become a personality in the industry. A more well-rounded gamer. The studio is where it's at."
The studio is in place, but Coleman is still working to obtain the equipment needed to begin broadcasting podcasts, hosting talk shows and online tournaments.
"In the meantime, I am putting all of my efforts into my store," he said.
HOURS: 3-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 12-10 p.m. Saturday
ADRESS: 1207 NE Big Bend Trail
PHONE NUMBER: (254) 897-0110
ON THE WEB: indiegogo.com/dpad