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During my time on Fiverr, I set out to do things differently. Not only did I want to separate myself from the competing sellers on the site. I also wanted to provide a true level of coaching, even if it was at a sacrifice. I decided to run an experiment, and charge way less than others, while tripling the amount of time I committed.
It’s truly my belief that it takes time to learn something, and to improve. So I am pleased that my 1 month, $50 package was the most purchased. Despite my confidence as a coach, I can never shake the feeling that some amount of impact is missed in short sessions. As mentioned earlier it definitely came with some sacrifice. Due to the scheduling with the students, I could find myself playing 6 hours a day, on top of the many hours of research and note taking to ensure that they got the individual treatment my players deserve. Waking up as early as 6am most days and finishing my final coaching session at 2am. Continue Reading–>
I was recently given the opportunity to donate some of my old gaming consoles and lag free TV’s to an underprivileged High School (Can’t Name). Although these will only be used in an after school gaming club, I still think this is an important step in introducing schools to competitive gaming.
A Little History
I have been running tournaments since 2011 on the East Coast of Florida. It was always a dream of mine to one day open a LAN center, be part of an eSports circuit, and one day find the next huge talent. So I formed an incredible group, and we got to work. We had to focus primarily on fighting games due to the limitations of the venues. No stable internet, power to run computers, etc.
Like most who start out in this industry, we relied on other people’s equipment to get started. However, we were always determined to provide our own, as we felt it made us more professional. We didn’t have much at this time, but we were able to secure four 19″ Insignia brand TV’s that were lag free enough to use for, Smash, Halo, and Call of Duty.
In between the days of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mortal Kombat 9, and Halo 4, we took a small hiatus. College, pregnancy and work can do that to a group. To be honest, I probably would have stayed retired if it hadn’t been for Frank hosting my first Smash 4 Tournament. I wrote a story about my time at that event, and the one after that you can find here.
With new determination, we went ahead and purchased three Wii U’s and 5 BenQ monitors. (though one Wii U has vanished.)
Right Time, Right Place
Needless to say we kept that equipment. Though the monitors are spread across the state of Florida with most of my friends using them. The TV’s stayed with me, and the Wii U’s were housed with a group member.
I recently moved across the state, and noticed that I still had the TV’s. So immediately I made the decision that I wanted to donate them, and the Wii U’s. However, every place that I called, had no use for them. Most of the big name (won’t list them here) charities, didn’t really want them. So I put it to the back of my mind, and moved on to the next thing.
Luckily while browsing Facebook, I read a post by a teacher at a High School here in Florida. This teacher was trying to find donations for his gaming club. Just something to give these kids something to do and keep them off the streets. I couldn’t be any more elated to reach out to him. This was exactly what I was looking for. A place to donate the equipment, where they could truly get used. We set up the meeting and I planned it for the next Monday.
Driving, Driving and More Driving
With some serendipitous timing, I was actually going to be near this school on Monday. Only problem was I didn’t have all of the equipment. To keep this part of the story short. Let’s just say I had to drive a total of 13 hours to get all of this done by Monday.
But, I arrived.
Introducing Schools to Competitive Gaming
I would like to take this opportunity to expand upon my theories and things we will require to creating a Repeatable Success Formula in eSports. One of those requirements is school involvement. As of writing this right now, there are quite a few colleges that offer Varsity eSports programs. With all of the viewership, and the increased revenue that eSports is gaining, colleges are starting to identify the value.
A huge portion of these teams all started as clubs that hosted various tournaments, and fostered competition on campus. Due to the expansion of these clubs and support from the Universities themselves, birth was given to the NACE (National Association of Collegiate eSports). Right now there currently boast over 90 Universities, and real career shaping through eSports. Read more on there website here.
All of this is exactly what eSports requires to hit the main stream and really acquire long term company endorsement. By being able to see and predict the performance of players coming out of College, teams will be able to acquire talent from a reliable source. Creating a type of farm system, similar to Baseball. It’s my belief that this extra level of confidence from both team owners and league coordinators will directly translate to corporate sponsors.
Eventually, and hopefully trickling it’s way down into High School. As a viable 2 year elective in Junior and Senior year. Both solidifying a repeatable success formula for pre and post college, but also setting the stage for eSports teaching.
For my donation, I get to believe that one of the students who plays will become inspired to compete. Find themselves through competitive gaming, and have it be the turning point to their successful career. Even if it’s just a dream.
Looking back, the month leading up to the second Smash Hard is truly different than what it is now. There was no Facebook messages flying back and forth. No community page to discuss changes to the tournament. There wasn’t even a guarantee we would have another one or even see the same people. Most of us didn’t exchange phone numbers, Wii friend codes, or even names. It was dark, and it was cold. (lol)
That tournament, in that garage was really a special moment in time. It didn’t feel like just another tournament. It had a strange feeling of camaraderie that I am yet to ever experience in a group of strangers. I credit that to the combined energy of Grown Ass Men Play. They brought a level of hospitality to the tournament, that would continue even when hosting away from the house. Everyone was incredibly present and living in the moment. We weren’t trying to be anything other than ourselves. It’s difficult to express how much that day inspired me and reignited a flame.
I spoke to Frank sometime in the middle of the tournament about helping him run his events. I had personally been running tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Brawl and other titles since 2011, and stopped in 2014 due to various factors that will be elaborated on in it’s own post. I knew that offering my assistance would come with some skepticism. After all, I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to offer. But, I was determined to improve the experience for the players, more so by my drive to compete, than my desire to be a host again. So much so, that I bought two Wii U’s and two monitors.
The Lead Up
Out of all the people I met that day I only exchanged phone numbers with one. I don’t know if it’s the way he introduced me to the microphone, our chemistry or just his overall demeanor. What I do know, is that Allan (GenericRhyme) and I made a true connection. A connection that exists even today, states away from each other.
We met up one time before the second Smash Hard, practiced for a bit, and it was there I told him that I would bring two of my set ups. Everything else was quiet up to that point. I reviewed some match footage in preparation for the hopeful next tournament and that was it. That is, until this happened….
With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releasing in December of this year, I decided this a good time to introduce The Treasure Coast Smash Community. I am going to do my best to tell the story of how this little community went from nothing to 100+ weeklies and MVG Smash Conference: United, while sharing my personal experiences as a player.
In the Beginning
A small group 5 of friends and co-workers (Frank, Allan, Blaine, Tim, Brandon) from Port Saint Lucie, Florida formed a group aptly named “Grown Ass Men Play”. Their primary focus was to create a YouTube channel to produce ‘Lets Play’ style content with commentary among other things. Their official YouTube channel was created in August of 2013. With the up coming release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U they decided to host a tournament.
The First Tournament (Smash Hard) February 2015
I was tagged on Facebook by someone who had attended some of Inconspicuous Gaming’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournaments. At this time I had never heard of this group but I figured, “Hey, why not?”. So I asked FeNriR to join me and we followed the GPS for about 40 min. As we turned down a busy but familiar road, the GPS indicated that we were near but I didn’t see any businesses. Next thing I know, we are pulling into a field on the side of the road with 3 other cars. That was the moment I realized, “This is a house tournament”.
We walk up the driveway to see a small car port tent, an open garage and a man holding a piece of paper. I give him my money and he scribbles my name in a non decipherable manner and we wait. At this point, I am not only anxious about competing, but I’m nervous about the turn out and tournament operation. Surprisingly the turn out was incredible. There had to be at least 35 players who showed up. 1 sofa, 2 chairs for the ‘commentators booth’, the garage floor and the driveway tent. Oh and most importantly, one 50 inch lag filled TV on top of a fridge. Bare-bones is an understatement. (It also rained)
Growing a local scene is one of the most important things you can do while on your journey into eSports. The amount of benefits are countless, and cover an array of different opportunities. You can be the player who is trying to improve, or the coach learning to analyze. Believe it or not, you don’t even have to be a player to benefit from your local scene. There are many roles that local scenes need to thrive: video editors, social media experts, journalists, event planners, the list goes on! I am going to share my experiences with you and give you some advice on how to help grow your local scene.Continue Reading–>