It's me. The majority of you don't even know who I am, and I don't blame you. I only posted in a very specific section of the site, and didn't once blog about myself. But it's been 2 years for me on TL, and I'd like to share how this site changed me, and I can allow myself a bit (a wall of text?!?) of exhibitionism, right?
Now, where to start?
I think I'll start by self-reflecting a bit. When I think of what an impact I might have had on the Brood War forums, I immediately think of the coining of the phrase "pulling a mustaju", which basically means acting depressed over something e-sports related. I am not very proud of that phrase, but I do see how it is deserved. Unfortunately, STX-losses aren't the only thing I have been acting overly emotional about. In fact, I remember being depressed from a very early age.
At age 12, I sincerely thought that the world would be a better place if I didn't exist. I never attempted suicide, but I constantly thought about it, because I saw myself as a nuisance to everyone I met. While I did have a period of self-confidence and feeling satisfied regarding myself, my whole world fell apart after a particularly harsh breakup. From there on, I reverted to a state of self-pity and self-loathing, which only amplified once I split ways with a religious organization for reasons that are too complicated to describe here, and a lot of my friends started moving out of town.
I felt deserted and undeserving. I had a state scholarship for the university, I loved political studies, I often visited classes, made notes, didn't talk to anyone, didn't socialize with my course mates much, and when exam-times came... I just curled up, because I couldn't bring myself to write the papers that were the preliminary requirement for exams. Needless to say, that led to even more self-loathing. I lied to everyone who asked about it, and dragged it out till now, where I'm nominally still a student, but have no hope of graduating. Four years I wasted my time and didn't achieve anything, though I visited the classes and even spent a lot of time researching topics for myself. Might sound insane, but that's exactly what I did, because that's all I could do. All the while I kept being shouted at for being useless at home, and kept blowing all the additional chances I got to get it right.
Starcraft was one of many outlets, but it quickly became a major one. A friend whom I met at a boardgame store reminisced about the SC1 campaign in july 2009, and before we knew it, we ended up playing hundreds of hours of Brood War., in preparation for SC2, as we told one-another. The hype for that new game was beyond huge, and we were caught up in it even more now that this was the first time I ever played something in multiplayer for that long. What is more, I discovered the Brood War scene soon after, and I was hooked from the very moment I first saw the games. We emulated the basic openings, and Team Liquid was found soon after. Starcraft became the most important thing in my life at that moment.
It was the 2010-2011 season when I started making a small name for myself in the Brood War Live Report threads, as I always made an effort to create the best Live Report threads I could make for my favorite team, STX SouL. I tried to up the former standards by including hype-interviews with fans of the teams, personal predictions of the games that would follow, and dozens of tiny easter-eggs to the awesome people that I shared the experience with.
For half a year, I created every single LR thread for this fairly unpopular team, and I tried to improve the quality every time. This helped me a lot in the future, but I'll come back to that later.
What about SC2, you might ask? I was left disappointed by it, and while I was jumping up and down after receiving a beta key, and bought the game soon after, I only ended up playing the game for 4 months. I played about 300 games of SC2, but when Proleague started again, I didn't look back until much later. Thus far, all 3 of my attempts to get into SC2 have failed. For me, there was only Brood War, for better or worse.
Soon after, Team Liquid found itself short on BW writers. Thanks to Milkis and Flamewheel, I was brought in, and I spent a year with awesome people pumping out the greatest newsposts TL had ever seen. While my contribution was, in my own opinion, inferior compared to the rest, I am proud to have been part of the two writing rosters I ended up working with.
Now that you know what I ended up doing on TL, I'd like to tell you how it improved my life.
First, it got me interested in programming, thanks to typing all those long codestrips to create the OP-s of the Live Report Threads, learning new programming languages seems a lot less frightening now, and I feel very glad about doing it.
Secondly, I learned a lot of Photoshop, trying to make the horrible banners you ended up seeing. I spent hours upon hours and many sleepless nights churning out new banners, and I loved doing it. At a time where I was barely motivated to get out of bed, that really helped me feel better about myself.
Thirdly, Starcraft helped me understand the passion people can have for sports. I used to look down on people who were sports fans, thinking them to be poisoned by a herd-instinct and to be horrible people in general. I was so wrong to make that generalization, and the time I spent on TL has been some of the happiest in recent years. I cried when my favorite players dropped out of tournaments, I danced around the room when Calm beat Flash in several games, and I was so passionate I even had myself banned for 2 weeks after a particularly bad streak of games. I am so happy I got to be part of this, even if that time was brief.
Thanks to this empathy, I definitely improved the relationship with my brother, and we barely talked before. It sounds unbelievable, but I assure you, it's true.
Fourth(ly?), a lot of the blogs I read really helped convince me to finally go to a psychiatrist and try fixing my depression by getting some professional help. I came clean to a lot of my friends about all my lies, and while I still feel ashamed, I got a lot of help to get myself back on track where I thought I'd only find rejection. I'm sorting out a lot of my anxieties and I've finally managed to do something about the self-loathing. I have become more positive in general, and TeamLiquid definitely deserves some credit for that.
Finally, and most importantly, I met a lot awesome people here. I wrote articles with Harem, Hyde, Carnivorous sheep, Kiante, HawaiianPig, Kiett, Spica, SirJolt, Milkis, swanized, tree.hugger, alffla, flamewheel, disciple and riptide (forgive me if I didn't list someone's name here), who all shared the same passion as I did. It gave me hope to see this sort of passion, and gave me the feeling that I was something more than a weird nerd who wrote articles about korean teens playing computer games. I still look up to the TL staff and I hope they know that they are an inspiration to me.
I came to know moopie, Torenhire, kizuato and the rest of the STX-fanclub through TL. The small band of us cheering on our favorite players will forever be a cherished memory for me. Just knowing you were there with me early in the morning watching the games live was something I can't put into words. I know I wasn't the only one who felt the same.
Sayle gave me the opportunity to co-cast 2 times with him, and although I made a fool of myself on air, I loved every second of those. Sayle deserves a medal.
Ryo and moktira are unsung heroes who helped me a lot making my early Live Report threads and whom I always enjoyed talking to. If the end of BW means I'll never talk to them again, I'll be a very sad panda.
I never talked to Day. but I wish I had a chance to. He helped me a lot with becoming more positive without ever acknowledging my existence. If he ever reads this, I hope I can have that chat with him about how awesome BW is that I wanted to have from the first Daily I ever saw..
I spent hours arguing with Lightwip. While his argumentation tends to be extreme, I know his passion is genuine, and I respect that. I hope he will find a good outlet for it in the future.
I have to bring out moopie once again for always being there for me, whatever problem I had, always being willing to help, always trying to give the best advice, and being the best friend one can have over the internet. You are awesome and you should not forget that.
Now, I feel like my connection to TL is ever-fading, as I have new interests, new challenges and because something that I was very passionate about is about to disappear. Regardless, I am happy to know that TL was there for me when I needed it most, and that new people will take my place. While I am not passionate at all about SC2, I am happy to know that TL won't die if Korean professional BW does. I am happy to know that people are just as passionate about SC2 as I was about BW, and that this community will thrive for at least a few more years. I sincerely hope that even the staunchest SC2 hater can agree with me on that.
Thanks for everything, TL. I'll never be able to repay you.