I take everything for granted. That's what my parents told me growing up. My two best friends, Kelby and Travis, used to say the same thing. Too focused on the future to appreciate the present. I want more prestige, I want a trophy, I want to improve my skills.
After we lost, we all came back to our practice room and talked about how we felt. Taking turns, they revealed their sadness and regret they couldn't perform better. When it was my turn, I wanted to say so many things, but it didn't come out. I wanted to tell them how ashamed I was, how much I hate myself and relive those moments over and over again where I made the wrong play. I wanted to ask for their forgiveness. But how could I? How can I ask for forgiveness if I don't even know if they blame me to begin with?
I know I didn't play well, that I didn't play like myself, that we were outclassed against RNG's bot lane. My teammates know it too, and yet I think they still blame themselves for our losses. It's through our time practicing together that we've gotten to know eachother so well. They all focus on the burden of their own mistakes, but I wish they would just blame me and be done with it. It's both beautiful and terrible when you learn to win as a team and lose as a team.
Coming back to the hotel, I found Vincent crying in our room. I've never seen do that before, he's usually stoic and reserved. When I invited him to eat dinner, it was surprising to hear him accept. Spending time with my closest friends and joking around over delicious Chinese food, it reminded me of what we gave up for another year just to return home with nothing. I felt a little guilty to be there, like I didn't have a right to be happy when I failed so many people.
I've never been a weak link of any roster I've been on until this moment. Everyone has felt embarrassment and shame, but have you felt it in this magnitude? I let down my teammates, friends, and millions of fans. It's a crippling feeling of unworthiness that has kept me off social media.
An entire year of sweat and toil, of heated arguments and conflict, of disappointment and failure. I'll never forget that it ended like this, but there's also the other side. The dumb jokes we made, the friendship and brotherhood we built, the learning and growing we went through, the triumph of winning NALCS and trying our best at Worlds. I won't take it for granted.