I declared my major as Chinese three years ago when I came back to America from Shenzhen, Guangdong province in Mainland China. After having been to the Mainland and Hong Kong, I was sadly deprived of the opportunity to go to Taiwan. One year ago I saw my first NASL, two months after beginning to play Starcraft 2, and I noticed there was a player named "FnaticSen" who was speaking Mandarin. I was baffled, where was this guy from? He finished in third place, just barely pushing Puma out of the NASL with a CRAZY base-race and getting a slightly better engagement. Since then, my interest in Taiwan and esports began to awaken... I thought to myself that Taiwan would be an excellent outlet for the two things that I love most in life: Chinese and esports. Lo and behold, I was correct.
I think most of my luck can be derived from one individual I just happened to run into outside of club Luxy one night, here in Taipei. He'll remain nameless for the rest of this blog. I was on a blind date that wasn't going so well, and I saw a guy leaving Luxy and he was wearing a shirt with the Zerg logo on it.
"Hey! Live for the swarm!"
"Oh hey what's up?"
"Not much, couldn't help but notice the shirt. You lookin' for a clan? We got players of all leagues, based on the NA server and the EU server, and a 500 man TS server."
"I'm not that good, but I quit working for blizzard last month."
"Really? I had a friend that was working for them in Kunming a couple years ago. Just server maintenance work, patches and so on."
"Really? Well, here's my Facebook, bro." *Hands me his business card."
He didn't let me forget about the Barcraft event that took place at a bar here called Brass Monkey. It was the event that pitted Taiwan's best zerg (GamaniaSen), protoss (XpecIMHui), and Terran (SpiderDS) against one of Korea's best Zergs: Dongraegu.
While I was there, I happened upon employment opportunities in the eSports scene here in Taiwan, all of which I am unable to take at present. I was rather reluctant to actually speak to Sen at first, because 1) I didn't want to come across as the annoying fanboy and 2) I know what it's like to stick out like a sore thumb. So a friend introduced me to Sen. But, more importantly to myself, I saw Sen with my own two eyes, shook hands with him, and spoke Mandarin to him.
"楊家政？嗨，我叫鈕洋賓" (Yang Chiacheng? Hello, my name is Ben.)
"你會說國語嗎？" (You speak Chinese?)
"沒錯，我在大陸住過一年多。我以前的女友是大陸的，好複雜的故事。 (Yeah, I lived in the Mainland for over a year. My ex girlfriend is a mainlander, it's a really complicated story."
”哇！你的中文真的這麼好啊！“ (whoa! Your Chinese is really good!)
"謝謝，我的夢想事業就是在這裡當一個評論員" (Thanks, my dream job is to be a caster here.)
However, upon brutally honest reviews of my current casting in Chinese, I was dissuaded from being a better caster for the time being. When computex rolled along, I saw Sen twice more, but I also ran into BBoongBBoongPrime, who I also had the pleasure of taking a photo with, as well as CreatorPrime, both visiting from Korea. I faced GemmaSSQ in an amateur vs. Pro game at Computex. I lost, she won. This last month has been the most amazing month of my life.
Now, I sit here staring down the barrel of the reality shotgun that's about to blow me back to the United States. I rarely travel within the United States. Originally I come from Oklahoma. There is no esports industry there, and people stare at me like I'm an alien when they see me, the Caucasian that I am, speaking Mandarin. And many of the typical Oklahomans are simply too inbred to comprehend that mother-tongue and skin color have no connection in the 21st century, the one era in time where we can be anywhere doing anything (Settling down, having families, learning foreign languages) within 24 hours of stepping into an international airport.
The other night I cried my eyes out because I have to leave the one place on the planet where I feel normal. I'm going back to America this Sunday
However, I must say that this event, meeting all of these pro gamers and seeing them with my own two eyes, shaking hands with them, taking photos with them... It inspired me to be a better gamer. Not to criticize my opponents, but instead to take apart my games, put them back together, and figure out what I'm doing wrong in the games that I play on the ladder. And behold the results: when i first left America, I was platinum on the NA server (Now Diamond) and when I arrived here, I was placed into the Gold League on KR/TW (Now platinum).