Enthroned at last
This blog is a followup and closure to Heart of a Champion written in December of 2011 http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=296543.
It addresses what the championship at the 2012 GSL Season 1 Code S means to DongRaeGu and to his fans.
Throne of the King
There has been a lot of debate in recent times on who is the true king of the Zerg race.
The topic has been controversial as many were split between the old crown, Nestea, and the rising sceptre that is DongRaeGu (DRG/Park, Soo-Ho). On February 9th of 2012, DongRaeGu met Nestea in the GSL Code S round of 16. A fierce power struggle ensued between these two men for the control of the Zerg swarm. When the fog has cleared and the dust settled, it was DongRaeGu who stood triumphant with the seed to the round of 8 in his blood-stained hands. Still, the subjects of Nestea were not sated. Proponents of Nestea claimed that DongRaeGu has never won a GSL in his career and was thus undeserving of the Zerg Throne.
Almost one month later, Nestea would appear publicly to address those still loyal to him. The question remained: Who is the best Zerg player in the world?
Without hesitation, he muttered: Park Soo-Ho
Our Champion, Our DRG
What made March 3rd, 2012 so special to me as a DRG-fan was that it was the day that both DongRaeGu, himself, and his fans were exonerated. DongRaeGu was freed from being called "overrated" and the stigma of the Kongline, while we were justified for believing in him all along. It's hard to imagine that not two years ago, DRG was just some teenager who happened to be playing Starcraft II very well on the korean ladder. He mentioned that he would rather focus on studying (college) than to pursue a career in esports . It took some serious scouting from Coach Choi Yoon Sang of Team MVP to get DRG on board. Choi would later go on to explain that he made three different trips to meet with DRG before the latter would agree to join the team , a throw back to the stories of Kong Ming (Zhuge Liang) of the Three Kingdoms.
From there, DRG's career became a ride on a rocky road. His insane success in the GSTL where he single handedly skewed the match-up statistics of the Zerg race  was equally matched by his failures in the regular GSL seasons. For a time, it was hip and popular to smear on DRG's name; his handle became a pseudonym for being overrated. Everyone agreed that DRG was good but he was not great because he failed to achieve any major championship wins. Yet for all the backlash against the Soo-Ho, his fan numbers grew. We were all drawn to him for two reasons.
1. He is really FREAKING good at ZvT, a matchup historically Terran favored. DongRaeGu could do something most zergs (including Nestea) could not, crush almost any Terran on the face of the planet!
I once explained to a friend why I am so infatuated with this kid:
Starcraft II Wings of Liberty is very hard. Playing as Zerg is very hard. Playing as Zerg against Terran is very very hard. Statistically, the TvZ matchup has never EVER fallen below 50% winrate since the release of the game. But DRG, he doesn't give a shit about all that. He just plays his heart out and he wins...he wins for us...he wins for me. I see him as a hero...fighting for all us weak zerglings who could never make it.
+ Show Spoiler +
It's hard to put a finger on why DRG is so likable. Perhaps it is because DongRaeGu exudes genuine characteristics that you would find in your closest friends. He's playful, optimistic and friendly almost to a fault. Soo-Ho does not act like a Zerg god to be respected and feared like Nestea before him, he acts like someone you've known all your life. He acts like your best friend, your brother, your close ally...someone you could talk to or play video games with...someone who could make you laugh.
Thus to DRG-fans, it became very personal, because he was so personable...
Those of us who were fans believed in DRG...we held on that he would one day show everyone that he's not overrated. Then the Blizzard Cup happened. DongRaeGu was stone throw away from seizing that championship, thereby obtaining the recognition and respect he needed and deserved...but things did not happen that way. Reading the comments in DRG's fanclub alone illustrates how painful that loss was for all his fans.
The crowd chanted DRG's name...but he had lost that day. It was the most bittersweet experience I've ever had as a fan of
Soo-Ho and Starcraft II.
The Comeback Kid
Since the Blizzard Cup, DongRaeGu would go on blazing trail all the way to the 2012 GSL Season 1's finals. He would win almost every tournament that he entered. But what's more amazing were the series where he seemingly was inches away from defeat, just to pull a reversal and win in the end. Park Soo-Ho was the ultimate comeback kid of Starcraft II. These jaw dropping games against the likes of Nestea(2012 S1 GSL R016), Gumiho(2012 S1 GSL Ro4) and Parting (MLG Arena LB) showed that his greatest strength is his perseverance. These series along with the Blizzard Cup finals solidified my respect for DongRaeGu not just as an insanely good player, but also as a person.
The overarching theme of DongRaeGu has become:
Never give up, never surrender, believe in yourself, even against the odds and you can do it.
It is nothing less than inspiring...
Just one week before the the GSL finals against his close friend Genius, DongRaeGu had a major setback on his amazing victory march: He lost to MarineKingPrime at MLG Arena. Park Soo-Ho has fought back fatigue and jet-lag all MLG weekend. He was in a position unique to any other player there: The night before flying out to New York, DRG had competed and won an insanely tough and close series against Gumiho in the 2012 S1 GSL semifinals. Hours later, he would be on an airplane to the United States in a 14Hrs flight. Once landed, on the VERY SAME DAY, he would compete in a very grueling three-day-tournament that is MLG Winter Arena with the GSL finals looming over his shoulders just 5 days later.
The loss at the Arena reminded fans of how vulnerable DongRaeGu could be to non-standard play as well as brought back painful memories of the Blizzard Cup. But we pushed back our fears so that we could have the courage to cheer for DRG
...our DRG... in the coming finals.
We wanted...we needed to see him win...to show the world that our hero wasn't just foddler for champions like MMA... to have our faith rewarded...
At the end of sixth game against Genius in both players' first GSL finals, DongRaeGu moved in with a dozen mutalisks to wipe out the opposition's remaining stalker forces to take the series and the championship. I can't describe well the emotions I experienced that night but it was close to a cathartic mixture of relief and pure bliss. It felt as if a huge burden was lifted from DRG and his fans...so we can stand up proudly and say "We're not crazy! Here's the proof!"
And for a split moment, the camera captured DongRaeGu, holding his trophy while looking serenely back at the crowd... All I can hear in my head was...what I think he meant to say to all of us... with that one stare...
"We did it. This is for you, all my fans..."
 State of the Game. Episode 64. Interview with Nestea: http://sotg-sc2.blogspot.com/
 [16th Dec] Media Day for GSL Blizzcup!: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=295613
 [GSL Season 1] Mr.Chae&Engine's pre-game show (with MVP Coach): http://www.gomtv.net/2012gsls1/gomcam/67045
 Champion's Return. By the Numbers. Divinek: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=312657
 TLPD Winrates Release-to-Feb 2012: http://imgur.com/a/1aAfu
Long Live The New King!
Jin Kazama stars as DongRaeGu