“Genuine beginnings begin with us.”
— William Throsby Bridges
— William Throsby Bridges
When I first joined TeamLiquid.net a bit over five years ago, I made a promise to myself: I would not get involved with the site as anything more than a simple poster. The reason for this was simple. For as long as I could remember, whenever I developed a strong interest in anything—be it online or otherwise—I would inevitably throw the entirety of my being at it, contributing the bulk of my time and effort towards it however possible. In middle school, I was engrossed in role-playing, as the ability to conjure words and create a world tempted my imagination. In high school, I was pulled into the realm of online gaming, in which my competitive spirit took me further than I'd ever envisioned.
Throughout the majority of my time in college, I was consumed by various college clubs and friends, so far as to organize my own circles to further the relationships of those around me. During the last year of university and a year or so after, politics took me for a wild ride, embedding within me dreams that I will carry forever. And now, in 2015, my infatuation is without a doubt esports, a domain that has me channeling all of my past experiences in attempts to contribute to a field still in its adolescence.
In short, I am terrible at maintaining balance in life.
On January 13th of this year, Team Liquid announced the addition of its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. After the announcement, I strongly hoped for a CS:GO subforum for the site (as I had done since months prior), and sure enough, only three days later, our single thread had evolved into a subforum.
The new forum was bare, yet in its emptiness I saw possibilities. I created thread after thread in hopes of constructing an environment conducive to promoting discussion and livening the community, referencing popular threads from other TL.net forums to produce things members might enjoy. This, however, led to a broken promise with myself.
I officially became more than just a poster. Before I knew it, I was recognized as staff. It was not something I wanted, but nonetheless, I strongly felt the desire to get CS:GO coverage off the proper foot for TL.net. As much as I wished to stay away from contributing to the site, over the years I had developed a profound respect for the organization's esports coverage, and while my vow withstood four and a half years, I decided that providing the CS:GO community with content that could live up to TL.net's reputation was ultimately more important. As TL.net was venturing into new ground, I wanted to utilize my past experiences along with my love for CS:GO to give both communities a proper introduction to one another. For better or worse, I simply cared too much for TL.net and CS:GO and believed—and still believe—that both communities can attain a greatness never seen with one another.
What started as a ragtag team of a handful of active contributors is now a fervent group of over 20. Our team has been extremely fortunate, to say the least. Since the early stages, we have been blessed with amazingly talented individuals who have become our pillars for success. Although we have seen our fair share of people come and go—somewhere close to 20 in the span of 6 months—the dedication of some of our staffers cannot be overstated.
During this time, I grew more and more involved with the team, both emotionally and as a contributor. My social life had already taken a huge blow, but even worse, juggling my day job whilst leading the team left me little time for rest and relaxation. I don't remember the last time I got a full day's rest. Even during the rare occasion where I would find time to meet with friends, I was unable to refrain myself from checking Skype to make sure everything was going smoothly within the team.
A month or so before I was set to make an announcement to the team about my stepping down, I reflected upon the past half year and what it had meant to me. My body and mind were worn and there were of course those little things that nagged me about the team, which was natural for one as big as ours. Yet the time I spent with the team and the things we produced—together—undeniably made me happy. The overwhelmingly positive reception we received from the community, not only on TL.net but throughout Reddit and social media as well, is one of the greatest gifts I have ever had the pleasure of receiving. The hundreds of hours of labor were all very worth it, and I have absolutely zero regrets.
The bigger problem was my "real life." My productivity at work was slowly declining as I came in every morning extremely tired. If there was anything that was making me unhappy, it was definitely my situation at work.
And so after a period of reflection, I quit my job. From the beginning I only saw it as a temporary gig, so it was not much of a loss. Rather, the most significant result of my reflection was not parting from my job; it was me acknowledging my passion and accepting something I've known all along about myself: I cannot live without chasing my dreams.
As the world spins and the majority of people settle for normalcy, I am constantly pulled towards a need for something greater. Not for myself, but for everyone else, in hopes that "normalcy" will one day be something worth striving for. It's a principle that got me involved with politics and something I will undoubtedly bring with me to my grave.
I will be embarking on an adventure. Save for one year where I studied in Japan, I have lived in San Diego my entire life and feel it’s time for me to once again experience something different. As such, I will be moving to Kansas City, Missouri. I currently have no job offers, but that is something I will worry about after I get there. I am not particularly picky as I will be treating it as an experience more than anything else, and I certainly don’t think I will be settling into a full-blown career there. Luckily, Josh, also known as Thumbless here on TL.net, will be letting me stay with him until I get my situation in order. I pray he doesn’t ask for too many sexual favors in return.
“The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
— William Pollard
— William Pollard
From here on, I will be seriously pursuing a career in esports. It’s not something I ever imagined myself doing, but it feels like it was only a matter of time due to my long and ardent attachment to video games.
I’ve learned and experienced quite a bit during my time with TL.
Firstly, if you’re really looking to get into esports, volunteer and form connections. Once you decide to volunteer, whether it’s as a writer, graphic designer or anything else, you must take every project you’re entrusted with 100% seriously. Being a volunteer is not an excuse to drag the efforts of those around you down with you. Don’t assume those around you are ignorant of those who do not put in the proper effort. We know. The community knows. Those who give it their all will be noticed, and they are typically the ones that will be rewarded for their efforts, while those who try and cut corners will be remembered, and not in a good way. All the talent in the world means nothing if it’s never on display.
That being said, while individuals with decent work ethic aren’t uncommon, those with actual initiative are a rarity.
We and esports, as a community and a field, are in a delicate time. As esports is still in its adolescence, we have the opportunity to mold and create the standards to be followed for years to come. Yet, as the industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, communities have failed to keep up with the changing times, and TL is definitely no exception. While much of our coverage and articles can be seen as a sort of gold standard for esports content, there is still huge room for improvement, and that includes our CS:GO coverage.
I think the community deserves more. I think players and teams deserve more. Some tournaments certainly deserve more. Yet complacency oozes out of every organization as self-satisfaction pervades those who are unable to see past the status quo.
Esports dwells within its own bubble, and the content that is produced within it has stagnated. And while many people may not notice nor care, I don’t believe in standing still as the world around me moves forward. In many regards, esports has a dire lack of leaders—leaders who will revolutionize the industry for the benefit of us all. I think one of the main reasons why this is is because everyone is out on the racetracks, trying to get ahead of one another, instead of working together to invent something truly magnificent. Another reason is because the general demographic is young and the knowledge and experience is just not quite there.
As the industry transitions from a more grassroots, fringe community to something more mainstream and professional, we are seeing an increase of those who are after money and less of those who exude true passion. That being said, with the relatively small amount of opportunities and lower wages currently, communities are still largely run with enthusiasm. The question is, “For how much longer?”
I dream of a future where we will no longer look outside for inspiration, but rather, the rest of the world will look towards us as the proper example of how to do things. I envision a time where an esports journalist will win a Pulitzer, an author will win a Nobel Prize and a video will take an Oscar. Paintings of video games will dress the Louvre, apparel will paint the stores, and orchestras will douse entire towns with esports classics. No one truly knows how far esports will go.
So let’s take it further than our imagination.
I know I’ll try.