In the Halo community, players and teams often receive undeservingly
polarized reputations. Members of the publicly viewed “hard-edged” Str8
Rippin seem to be the worst victims of such a misinformed trend. In
Foulacy’s own words, the community views him as a ‘mean, conservative
and picky guy’. The reputation, Foulacy says, is ill conceived. “I
don’t think I have any of those traits really. I liken myself to the
‘smart, good looking and amazingly talented at Halo’ guy.” Even his own
description may be an oversimplification. A simple talk with the Str8
Rippin shooter reveals traits of humility, cleverness and
professionalism often overlooked.

Peter ‘Foulacy’ Dietrich was raised in the small town of Palo Alto,
California, 30 miles south of San Francisco. Young Dietrich was a very
astute student of the shy variety, rarely if ever getting in trouble.
“My childhood was amazing,” describes Foulacy. “Somedays I still wish I
could absorb the world as much as a child can.” Among his hobbies
growing up were a variety of sports, including soccer, baseball and
basketball. Like many, Foulacy stresses the importance and value of
sports in the lives of growing minds. “I think sports are a vital part
of life to someone who is very young. They should be played by
everyone.”

For Foulacy, his hobbies were more than pure recreation. He applied a
healthy spirit of competition to many facets of his life. “From Magic
cards in 4th grade, and basketball on the school courts, to getting
amazing grades in school, I’ve treated everything like a competition.
Even with girls sometimes!”

However, it was in video games that Foulacy’s competitive spirit took
greatest root. “My friend would come over and we would play everything
from Tony Hawk to Perfect Dark to Crazy Taxi. And I had to
win!”
Ultimately, it was Sega’s unlikely blue mascot that piqued his
competitive fervor.  Foulacy avers, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2, for
Genesis. This was the
game that put me over the top, I would get so heated and into it,
racing my friend to the finish.”

After years of rivaling his neighborhood friends in every game they
could get their hands on, Foulacy received a blessing in the form of
Halo: Combat Evolved. His story is one to which many within the MLG
community can relate. “After discovering Halo for the first time at
a friend’s house, three of us decided to get an Xbox. We lanned Halo 1
all day and all night.” Foulacy and his friends were prepared to set up
a Halo session at any moment. For maximum portability, they carried
around a duffle bag filled with four Xboxes, cables, and upwards of ten
controllers. “We would call people at all hours of the night. Show up
whenever and demand that Halo be played.”

The young crew consisted of some of the Pro Circuit’s current biggest
names, including Samurai and Fonzi. The group was elated when they
discovered a Major League Gaming event in San Francisco. “We were all
thinking ‘Tournament?!! Halo for money?!?’ We thought we were the best,
and we immediately wanted to go.” Up to this point, the story reads
as a near carbon-copy of many fervent Halo 1 fanatics. Neighborhood
heroes everywhere expected to march into immediate success at a
national tournament.

Foulacy’s story, however, differs in the fact that his team actually
found success. The squad bagged fourth place at their first event. The
experience completely overhauled Foulacy’s outlook on competitive
gaming. “We thought we knew everything, every trick in the book. But we
learned there is so much more out there.” After his first tournament,
Foulacy was hooked on the MLG scene. “I never looked back, I just went
with it.”

Foulacy’s team, Str8 Rippin, became a staple within the competitive
community in 2005. “[That] season was really the most fun I’ve ever had
playing Halo, in terms of sheer enjoyment of the game. It’s because the
tournament atmosphere was still so new to me. I enjoyed playing in
front of crowds, I play better because of it. The excitement and
adrenaline goes through me and I really get in a zone.”

His team found tremendous success on the Pro Circuit in 2005. Standing
as the third-seeded team, they had truly found their place within the
upper echelon of competitive gaming. Str8 Rippin helped bring many great players to prominence,
including Karma, Walka, Sad Panda, Blackjak and Anarchy. Standing
superlative among his 2005 achievements were back-to-back first-place
tournament finishes. In doing so, Str8 Rippin became the first team to
crack Final Boss’ then dominant reign.

The entire tournament scene hit a great transition between 2005 and
2006. “2005 was great because it was so raw. Everything was unrefined
and everyone was just going for it. 2006 really created a new sport. It
stabilized Halo as something you can do and make a living at. It also
brought great new players and great new teams.”

For Foulacy, it was also a phase of much personal development. “I
understood where I stood amongst top players, and figured out how to
play consistently well. The gametype changes from 2005 to 2006 really
helped me out a lot. Everything was on a more even playing field, and I
believe 2007 will be even more so.”

The 2006 season also held its share of disappointments for Foulacy and
Str8 Rippin. Their most notable squandered opportunities came early in
the season. In both the Meadowlands and Dallas Winners Bracket Finals,
the team was unable to close out 2 – 1 advantages over Final Boss.
Given the early season ruleset, the losses forfeited host for the
entire Championship Match. “It was really distressing to lose.”

The performances also created a stigma to some that plagued the team
for the
season. “With the way we’ve lost to Carbon and Final Boss, we are
looked at as coming up short. I think it is right that people view us
as a lesser team, because we really haven’t proven that we can beat
them. We did beat Carbon twice early in the season, but our losses to
Final Boss eclipsed our wins. This is why you have to win to gain
respect.”

Foulacy, however, keeps his eyes on the positive side of the stigma.
“You are looked at as a top team, a team to beat. Everyone has you in
their sights. It’s flattering yet challenging. I’m a ‘celebrity’ in the
community because of my success. It’s very very different from anything
I could imagine.”

His celebrity status was validated and rewarded at the end of the 2006
season. His $250,000 contract has been life changing. “I can be on my
own, I can do whatever I want. I have the ability to start my own
business, to live in my own house, to buy the things I want and need to
buy. It’s like having a job. A really really good job, that’s well
paying. It’s a blessing and an honor, to be seen in that light by MLG.”

The contract also places added pressure on Foulacy to live and play up
to the money coming his way. “It increases that target on our team. It
keeps you in check and makes you try harder as a player. I have no
doubt in my mind that we will show how much we deserve these contracts
in 2007.”

The transition to the 2007 has been a hectic one for both veteran
members and new recruits of Str8 Rippin. Playing a pivotal roll in the
off-season’s dramatic player movement, Foulacy and Tsquared found
themselves teaming with former Storm Ventures stars Legit and Naded.
While the topic has been a subject of much debate, Foulacy looks
optimistically upon Str8 Rippin’s future. “I’m looking forward to a
fresh start in 2007, to change for the better. It’s really a complete
overhaul. All the decisions that were made were the best possible
choices given the time, place, and circumstances surrounding me.”

As for his new teammates, Foulacy speaks nothing but praise: “Naded and
Legit have been two of the players I’ve always rooted for on the
circuit. I love those guys and the people they are. I’ve watched them
grow as Halo players and I see the talent they have.”
While the team is ripe with potential, it is not without its setbacks.
Like many newly formed rosters, Str8 Rippin suffers from streakiness
and inconsistency, traits that defined Storm Ventures during the 2006
season. The team’s tactics and playstyle, however, appear to be right
on track. Foulacy describes, “The way we all move around the map, who
charges and who stays back…works perfectly naturally when it’s on.
We are insanely aggressive, yet very conservative. It’s that perfect
mix that I see Final Boss and Carbon having.”

Str8 Rippin looks to be taking on its toughest field of competitors in
2007. “Everyone has become much more talented over this break. From
first to eighth, I think it’s going to be a lot closer.” While the
field has improved, Foulacy and his Str8 Rippin teammates expect
nothing less than a return stay in the Pro Circuit’s Top 3 ranks.
During the 2006 season, the team stood distinctly behind Carbon and
Final Boss, yet well ahead the pack. Foulacy appears well aware of his
squad’s place within the competitive ranks. “I’m perfectly happy
getting third the rest of my life, but it’s not what I want.”

What he wants, specifically, is clear: “I have only one goal, and that
is to win the 2007 Championships. That is where all the pride, all the
money, everything you’ve worked for the whole year, is earned. That is
where it’s all on the line.” In what may be the final major Halo 2
tournament, Foulacy sees no greater honor than to go down in the record
books the Halo 2 champions.

View Foulacy’s profile and read his weblog here.

For more information on Foulacy’s career, visit his Pro Report.

Discuss this article here.