23 August 2017

My experience with Esports

    When I was younger, I never thought myself the sporty type. I didn't enjoy football or cricket, sure I'll join in with friends for and hour and a bit, usually stay in goal, usually miss, didn't really care a whole lot as I didn't take it seriously. It was nice to just hang out with friends and chat about whatever. First to drop out so others can join in, not so much out of charity, it was just more important to them than it was to me. But despite my lack of interest with the sport I still held my first professional match with high regard. I went with my dad, he bought the three of us (him me and my little brother) tickets, we found our seats and bought a can of coke, and even though I didn't know the rules of proper football, I knew 100% what was going on at all times. There was a certain energy at the event that hooks you in, an amazing feeling. Thousands of people surrounding you, all experiencing the same euphoria, when the ball gets close to the goal. It's a simply amazing feeling, one you kinda have to experience to understand. I didn't follow football after that, I'll keep an eye on England at the world cup but the premier league I just couldn't care less about. However, that wasn't the end of sports for me as a whole...

    In 2012, 5 and a bit years ago, I discovered the game League of Legends. The game was fun, I enjoyed playing it, but I didn't fully understand it at the time. So I was looking online for any better players who I could learn from, it was from there I found out there were professional leagues for the game, E-sports. I was surprised, I hadn't even thought about them before, that there could be tournaments for it, nevermind one's well broadcast online. Maybe for fighting games or Starcraft: Broodwar, but somehow I thought LoL just wasn't there. I watched a bunch of games that week, followed the event that was going on at the time. The name TSM was being cheered by fans in every single games regardless of whether they were playing or not, the name stuck with me. I seen them play later that event and found out they were from America, this further interested me, helped me relate to them as a team. And the final nail in the coffin, the thing that sealed me as a TSM fan from then on out, I seen this video. In this I seen the team I had just been cheering for at their deepest, most intimate level. I had just seen more than a player, I seen a human being with thoughts and emotions, crying over his teammate and friend having to leave. This really hit home for me, my heard went out to Dyrus, and I wanted him to succeed, wanted him to be happy. I had found my player, found my team, and after following them for a while I started to know more and more about the rest of the team. I did my research into the team, looked for any media I could find on them. Team video's, interviews, articles on them, articles by them, I wanted to know more, and with each snippet of information, I felt myself growing closer to them. During close matches, I felt that same sense of euphoria watching live, as I did when I was at that football match oh so long ago now.

    The first roster change I didn't really have long enough to get to know Chaox, the person in the video before, so the team as I new it was already using his replacement. The first roster swap we had to make since then was the owner of the team leaving to focus on management, which majority of the fans couldn't be happier about. Reginald, the mid at the time, was a total douchebag. He was constantly was constantly a bad influence on the team, and constantly starting beef with the other players to big himself up. He was a very emotional character who everyone was happy to see replaced, him stepping down and getting replaced definately made later transitions easier to swallow, however every time it happened I still thought of Dyrus, hoped he dealt with it ok and wasn't too heartbroken. I liked the old team members and still check up on them every now and again, pop in Odd One's stream every once in a while, but I was comfortable moving forward with new players and new teammates who I grew to love just as much over time, especially the 2014 season team with Dyrus, Amazing, Bjergsen, Wildturtle and Lustboy. I felt that year was when TSM was really at their peak, if they were going places, it was with that roster, and they won a lot of events they attended, however all great things must come to an end. Come the end of the 2015 season, there was a lot of changes made to the team, nearly a full restructure. With Dyrus retiring, Amazing already left and his replacement was being benched, Wildturtle was replaced, LustBoy and coach Locodoco went back to Korea for a while. The team that I loved for so long was essentially disbanding, my favorite player was retiring from the scene for good, during his final interview on stage, I legit broke into tears. (Hell, even watching it back today 2 years later, I can't help but choke up a little bit.) I still love TSM today, though it's not quite the same. I still want the team I've cheered on all this time to succeed, but if a player get's benched or retires, I'm not gonna bawl my eye's out this time around.

    I was fairly new to the competitive smash scene a few years after it had first really taken off. I'd always played the game, and already knew something was starting, but didn't really have an introduction into the scene until much later. When they were first starting out, it was only American's and Japanese who played it seriously, Europe didn't host tournaments at all, and we didn't have any way of actually keeping up with it unless you were already there, there was no youtube, no twitch, we didn't even have proper capture techniques at the time, games were filmed on phone camera's, and even then only rarely. The only way to keep up with the scene was the Smash Boards website a little unknown forum where people would post about their little underground tournament they were hosting over at Matts house. However as time and technology went on, I started to learn a bit more about it and with the release of The Smash Brothers a documentary about the history of competitive smash, I started enjoying it more and more, becoming more interested in the tournament side of things, rather than just being a player who enjoyed playing for fun with friends. The whole scene is still fairly fresh to me, still very exciting and new. I'm still learning a lot of the names of top contenders, though there are some names I recognise from past events or The Smash Brothers I mentioned before. I'm eager to see where the sport will be a year or two from now, see if it's still the same game I'm enjoying today, sincerely I hope it is.

    Esports surprised me, as I said I never thought myself to be the sporty type. But within some of these online leagues and tournaments, I found a scene I could follow, a scene that has had me love and lose with my team, my players. THAT! Is my experience, with Esports.


  1. I had the same experience with you, with American Football. I was a big Eagles Fan, especially with the Trinity of McNabb, Westbrook, and Dawkins, those were my guys! but, like with TSM having fan-favorite members dropping out, I stopped following the Eagles, especially when the management got rid of McNabb, who's a great guy and a great role model, for Michael Vick--I don't know if you know about him since no one cares about American football outside of the US, lol, but he was involved in the dog fighting scene and was so abusive and cruel to the dogs, I couldn't read anymore about what he did to them as it was so blood-curdling--this was found out by animal rescue who were rehabilitating these dogs. The announcement came on April Fool's so I thought it was a joke, but I couldn't follow the team anymore. I know there are a lot of good guys still on the Eagles, but I just fell out of love of the Eagles and eventually of Football with all the awful head concussions, and players not being protected. Further, the Patriots (we call them Cheat-riots), keep on winning, which made football even more boring, so I fell out of love and don't even follow it anymore. I only watched the Superbowl for the half-time performer, Lady Gaga (HUGE fan here) last year.

    I haven't followed E-Sports, but am very glad that it's growing! I hope one day it will be on the major networks like any soccer and football games. It seems like these events are just as exciting as going to any of the major sports games, and hopefully, it will become even more popular than the traditional sports!

    1. I know of Micheal Vick, I don't know many people in American Football, but some people's reputation proceeds them. I'm a pretty naive believer in second chances, if he truly regrets what he did, works to ensure it doesn't happen again, then I could forgive him. Not forget of course, keep it in mind, but accept he's different now. As for him specifically however, he isn't doing any of that. He's hiding his corpses in the closet and hoping people don't find them, and that's simply not good enough for me.

      We have actually had one of our bigger tournaments on the BBC (our national television service), it was really weird seeing it on TV as opposed to twitch. It was really cool though, they brought in one of our older casting duo's for the broadcast, Leigh "Deman" Smith and Joe "Don't call me Joe "Joe Miller" Miller" Miller. They weren't able to move with the EU championship league when they relocated to Berlin, so they had to be dropped from the broadcast team way back when (still my favorites though).

  2. Wow, I didn't think Michael Vick would be known outside the US, b/c frankly, no one cares about American football, and even in the US, Football is dwindling in popularity. I hope the US will get with the program where Soccer becomes just as popular as everywhere else. I'm hoping that the NFL will continue to let the Patriots cheat to win, so it gets even more boring, leading to less and less fans...

    That's really cool to see a tournament on TV! It seems that E-Sports is gaining some steam. Sorry you couldn't see your favorites.