I've thrown stuff in there, it may not feel well organised, but whatever.
First, you may not know me well, as I've been mostly lurking or just posting on TeamLiquid.net since I joined the site circa Summer 2011. I got into SC2 in early 2011, the first tournament I watched was the TSL3 tournament (cheering for ThorZaIN, it felt pretty good!). As I was lurking more and more on the site, I decided to create an account and started posting, mostly in LR threads and on SC2 News at that time.
At the end of 2014, I had watched and played quite a lot of SC2, followed DotA2 a bit — I went to ESL One Frankfurt in 2014 —, and had started to pay attention to CounterStrike, as I watched the EMS One Katowice finals, where VP would beat NiP in an amazing series. I'm a fan of the poles since then.
But it was truly in 2015 that I would start following quite intensively the CS scene, as my interest in SC2 started to decline a bit. I still stay up-to-date with what's happening, I watch a few games here and there, but that's it. It's also in 2015 that I got a lot of opportunities to go to live events.
2015 in LANs
Before 2015, I had been to three live events, Iron Squid (2012) and Iron Squid 2 (2013) — thumbs up O'Gaming. Oh and ESL One Frankfurt 2014 that I already mentioned.
In 2015, I've been able to attend DreamHack Tours, ESL One Frankfurt (again), Homestory Cup XI, ESL One Cologne, ESL One New York. Needless to say, all of these have been wonderful experiences. The DreamHack and Homestory Cup were defined by friends and esports —both involving PartinG shenanigans, both great— and the ESL Ones by esports epicness. I notably had the chance to go to Cologne as press, but more on that in a moment.
The first step
At the beginning of 2015, I had that growing feeling that I wanted to contribute somehow. At that time, the first thing that came to mind was Liquipedia. I had already a few contributions on the SC2 wiki, but nothing important. In February or March, I poked Liquipedia on Twitter, asking if there was a CS wiki in preparation. I had a little chat with FO-nTTaX, who told me they'd need a few involved contributors to be able to do that. I felt I needed to step it up, and went back to the SC2 wiki, and started doing some conversion (the prize pool tables, my dear friends). As time went by, we ended up in May, where I got invited to contribute to the CS wiki, which was in fact on tracks for some time, as a merge between Kniferound and Clan-wiki under the LP banner (you can read more about that story here).
And the rest is history, I got my gold Liquipedia coin in the last 2 months, I even ended up running bots a bit on the wikis, and I'm now quite comfortable editing on it as long as it doesn't involve complicated template stuff, about which I'm still a noob... But I'm still happy each time I find something to do on the wiki(s) (and I got the time to do it). I've summed up part of my work here.
The second step
During summer, around the 14th of July, a post appeared in the CounterStrike section of the TeamLiquid.net forums. That post was a call for volunteers to contribute to the CS part of the site, either by writing or doing graphics. I had considered applying some time ago when reading similar posts about SC2, but never really got to. This time I decided to try, and got accepted in the TL CS:GO coverage team. Though a bit inconsistent, we still managed to write previews for both Majors since then, Cologne then Cluj, and we try to get some more in-depth content that deviates a bit from the standard previews/recap stuff, like for Cluj with articles that tried to cover some more specific aspects of CS:GO or some teams in particular.
Since then, I've tried to deepen my understanding and knowledge of the CounterStrike scene, which I started to follow in 2014. This has been hard, I feel like I'm getting a bit (but just a bit) better at this but also that I start with a huge delay, seeing all those guys with so much more experience and knowledge, that has been following and thinking about CS for a long time, some even for more than a decade. That's quite a motivation to improve, and I won't feel really good until I get it really well. I have two specific persons in mind when it comes to that, that I admire and try to learn from: Souma, and Dorian Costanzo from VaKarM.net (a french CS website).
There's one, and only one thing in 2015 that I would really emphasize: ESL One Cologne. I've been able to go there as press, thanks to Bumblebee (IIRC). And this has been a wonderful experience. I've met quite a few nice people, this was the biggest, most hyped and most epic CS:GO event of the year, and to be able to witness that was truly incredible.
Coming into Cologne, I wanted to "do stuff", but didn't really had an idea of what exactly. I mildly considered interviews, because I felt quite shy, and not good enough for that. But I got convinced, and received some help from the other TL people I had on Skype to go for it. And so here I was, getting into my first interview. With Happy. A player I've always quite admired for his abilities as a leader, rifler, AWPer, lurker, i.e. quite a swiss-knife of CS:GO. Two things helped a lot. First, I could interview him in french, and secondly, he was amazingly nice, calm, and was really easy to interview (for the lack of a better description of that feeling). It flowed nicely, and 15 minutes later, I had my first interview. Later in the day, I also got to interview Karrigan and ScreaM. That saturday couldn't have been better. In the morning I was quite reluctant to interview players, having some kind of apprehension. In the evening, my only wish was to interview the most players I could the next day. Sadly, due to schedule issues/conflict, this ended up not being possible.
And so this is still, and has been, from that moment, my best esport memory.
I'm looking forward to 2016, with great expectations. I'd like to get more involved, though I still have to conciliate this with my daytime job as software engineer in a tech startup which can sometimes eat up a lot of time and leave me exhausted with no other desire than to slack a bit...
I still aim to get better at what I've been able to do so far, improve my Liquipedia skills, improve my CS analytical skills (and there's a lot of room for that...), and my wrinting skills.. I feel like there's so much to do, and I've barely scratched the surface of what can be done. Looking forward, I feel 2016 will be even better.
I've wondered if I would aim towards working in esport, but I think I'll keep it as a passion/hobby for now, as I want to remain free and do what pleases me with no barriers.
If there's also something that characterized 2015, it's been all the people I've met. In no particular order, I say a big thank you to all of you, whom I worked with or simply met, and esports friends from even before.
All the Liquipedia peeps: FO-nTTaX, salle, Chapatiyaq, Clubfan, Shloub, Swirlyeyes, Yhamm, fomal, tolkienfanatic, RavenWhispers, Elyvilon, swampflare, all the others I sometimes talk/work with on IRC or in the forum.
Souma, whom I'd call my CS mentor. Wouldn't write on CS had he not been there I think.
amazingxkcd, who bears with us TL CS writers.
lichter, for the editing and the awkward interview questions for Cologne.
Nagisama, who'll make me write correct english one day (I promise I work on it).
Everyone else in the TL CS coverage team.
That good ol' Aeromi, who's been quite an inspiration when it comes to dedication. You're a twitter hero.
My CS bro' *aAa* Dokai.
Torte de Lini, for your MP-7 shenanigans in matchmaking and being hilarious, without revealing how awesome he's in esports. I hope I'll catch you at some event one day!
Waxangel, been nice to meet you at DH Tours and then in New York.
And finally the TL Community as a whole. I'm happy I'm part of it, and I don't expect to leave anytime soon. <3