A Clearer Picture

Episode 21

A one on one interview with Charlie Biletsky

Clear – A little later than normal, but I am back! Welcome back to A Clearer Picture, the interview series uncovering the stories behind the stars of the SFL! Tonight, we kick off our Season 17 slate with an offensive feature piece of the league runner’s up last season. Yes, it’s our resident late-night general chat summariser, welcome to A Clearer Picture to THE “Bullet” Biletsky, how are you this evening, Charlie?

Biletsky – Doing great Jacob! How are you?

Clear – I am well, thank you! It is a pleasure to have you on!

Biletsky – Thanks for having me.

Clear – First of all, you’ve been on a couple interviews since joining the league, but for those unaware, who is Charlie Biletsky? Tell us a little about yourself.

Biletsky – I’m a financial data manager for a large financial services company. My friends call me the Chandler Bing of the group because they just do not understand what I actually do.  Born, raised, and live in the Big Apple, married for 23 years, have a 19-year-old son who is a junior at Penn State and a 16 year old daughter who is a senior in high school. I love playing sports. Played high school baseball, football, and ran track. Played one year of college baseball. I was always the fastest person on my teams and one of my nicknames was “Bullet” which I’m now affectionately known as in the SFL. I root for the Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers, and I blame my father for that!  He indoctrinated me into the cult of losing franchises and I’ve sadly done the same to my son!

Clear – That’s awesome! What brought you to the league, Charlie? How did you find it, and what brought you in?

Biletsky – I was channel surfing one day and came across an SFL game playing on the Eleven Sports Network. I was immediately intrigued as the production value for this was fantastic as real announcers were calling a simulated football video game with the same passion as they would be if it were the real Super Bowl!  I realized that after 20 years of “simming in silence,” as I like to describe it, I had just stumbled onto a large community of people that loved simulation sports as much as I did! I joined the league the next day.

Clear – That’s a great story! I feel like this is a reasonably straightforward answer, but what made you choose to play as a tailback?

Biletsky – I was a tailback my entire little league career all the way thru high school, and although I thought I was good enough to play in college, no one was knocking down my door to hand me a scholarship, so that was that.  I’m now thoroughly enjoying watching “Bullet” Biletsky carry on my legacy in the SFL!

Clear – So, a lot of people don’t know your SFLm story in its entirety, so we’ll touch on that for just a moment. You initially came through with the now returned Boise Mud Dogs before making the jump to Madison; what were your initial impressions of the minor league when you first joined?

Biletsky – I thought the entire SFL setup and hierarchy of the minors leading up to the actual SFL was brilliant.  Basically, a feeder league to “The Big Show.”  I quickly realized, with a lot of guidance from my SFLm coaches, especially you, Mr. Clear, that the SFLm was the place where you get to show off your stuff as a person and make yourself known to the rest of the league.  A place where you can prove what you can offer outside of the game that will make you valuable to an SFL team, whether that is in the form of graphics skills, social media proficiency, or simply being a positive, friendly person, that other people would want to be around and be teammates with.

Clear – Absolutely! How was your experience with the Lynx as an overall and what did you enjoy the most about playing with the team?

Biletsky – Playing with the Lynx was a great experience. We had a great locker room. Everyone was always positive whether we won or lost each week.  I really enjoyed getting to know to the players and coaches as people, and I’ve made friendships there that are still going strong.

Clear – That is great! Locker rooms can really make this league the experience that it is.  So, without sugar coating it too much, I like referring to your rookie draft experience as one of the most inspiring we have seen in recent memory. Can you tell me what was going through your mind leading into draft night?

Biletsky – So after free agency ended and going into the draft, it was clear that there was only ONE running back slot that was open, and despite feeling that I did a really good job of selling myself to various teams, the fact that there were several running backs that had superior player builds to mine, it was highly unlikely that I was going to be drafted. I was almost certain that I was going to have to go back to the SFLm and grind it out for another season. And then the Florida Storm got in touch with me out of nowhere. It seemed that they also needed a running back, and that they were considering me.

Clear – So, pick number 2 comes and goes, DC have taken Kevin Seay. What is going through your mind at this point?

Biletsky – Right. Since DC was the only team that seemed to need a running back, I figured that was that and I was headed back to the Lynx for another season.

Clear – Round 2 rolls around, who initiated the conversation, and when did you know, you were going to Florida?

Biletsky – So round 2 starts and Ryan Davidson, the Director of Player Personnel from Florida reached out to me and said that they are thinking of drafting a running back. I was stunned as I didn’t realize that they needed a running back, but immediately got excited.  In any case, the second round came and went, and Florida picked another position with their pick.  I was dejected and thought that was the end of the road.  I was a little bummed out.  Now keep in mind, I had proactively reached out to at last half of the SFL teams over the course of the SFLm season (Florida being one of them), just to let them all know who I am f that I’m really interested in being a part of the league and explaining what I can offer to their franchises. I realized that running back positions were at a premium, so I was just planting the seeds for myself if not for this season, for the following season, but still, I felt a little disappointed. But, Florida had the first pick in the 3rd round and I was stoked to hear back from Ryan! He asked me if I wanted to be a part of the Storm and the rest is history!

Clear – What a story! What were your initial reactions and what was it like stepping foot in the Florida locker room for the first time?

Biletsky – Oh man! I was super excited to join the Storm and I was welcomed with open arms as soon as I stepped into the locker room.  Everyone was really friendly, and the locker room is super active so there’s plenty of opportunity to feel like you’re one of the guys! Mighty is a phenomenal owner and wouldn’t have it any other way.  The organizational culture is always set from the top, and Mighty sets the bar high! It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this team.  I have to say that a great locker room is the key to really enjoying your time in the SFL. I’ve been lucky to be a part of two locker rooms in Madison and the Storm that are super positive and welcoming. It really adds an incredible amount to the entire SFL experience.

Clear – What was your experience like in the SFL regular season, and what did you enjoy most about the playing experience during those 12 weeks?

Biletsky – My first season with the Storm was an awesome experience. As a rookie being drafted at a premium position, my player was immediately thrust into the center of the game action week after week.  Hearing your name called out by the game announcers is a surreal and enjoyable experience and completely adds to the immersion factor of the league. The Storm has a very lively VC during each game, and that is the best part of each week for me.  A lively locker room chat during the week and the same in VC made the entire season awesome to be a part of!

Clear – That’s awesome! So glad to hear that you’re enjoying it! Obviously, a trip to the playoffs in your rookie season was quite the occasion, how did it feel making it to the playoffs?

Biletsky – After our week one hiccup, the team gathered momentum during the regular season and we “stormed” into the playoffs with a lot of confidence. We entered the playoffs as the #2 seed and felt that we were ultimately headed for a showdown with the #1 seed, the Denver Nightwings. But before that, of course, we had to battle and get past some very tough teams in the Baltimore Vultures and Las Vegas Fury.  In the end, we got the matchup with Denver in the Championship Game, and after a very tense and tough battle, we came up a little short. I have to mention again that the immersion factor I’ve felt emotionally in this league rivals anything I’ve ever felt in real life.  Watching and rooting for the Storm was literally no different for me than rooting for any team that I have ever played on in my life. Amazing!  That being said, losing in the Championship Game really stung.  Took me a few days to get over it!

Clear – Awesome story! What does the future hold for “Bullet” Biletsky, and what are your thoughts heading into the new season, particularly under new coach Ben Jackson?

Biletsky – I’m so grateful for Mighty and the Storm taking a chance on me and will be a member of the Storm For life! As time goes on, I would like to find ways to contribute more to my team and to the league. I’m planning on sticking around for a while, so I’m looking forward to that. Coming into season 17, Ben is our new OC and I’m super confident that he is going to elevate our offense to new heights!

Clear – Thank you very much for your time Charlie and good luck this season!

Biletsky – That you very much Jacob! Had a blast speaking with you! Congrats on your promotion, and good luck to you this season as well!

Clear – Thank you man! It was a pleasure to have you on!

Want to be featured on a future episode? Send Jacob Clear a Discord DM to get started. Until next time!