Hanging up the sticks.. My retirement : |
Honestly, sorry for the length but there's so much I gotta say and I believe its worth the read :)
At this age, and point in my life/career, it has become not only increasingly difficult to be able to contend for a championship, but nearly impossible with the sub 15 hours I might be capable of putting in on a weekly basis. And due to the standard that I hold myself to, and the fact that I would hate to be on a team where practice is entirely based upon my schedule, I do have to finally hang up the sticks... :(
To say this is coming with a heavy heart is an understatement. As cliche as it is, this game and community have brought more to my life, in and out of the game, than I could ever have imagined.
From heading into MLG Toronto 08 as a major underdog and placing 3rd through am bracket, to blowing a championship kill on the ground :( to winning an MVP, 5 straight finals appearances, 3 event wins, and a national championship -- while all my successes and failures (this last event..) are moments that will surely never be forgotten, and that I of course will 100% cherish, what few outside the gears community see is the close knit community we actually share.
With each of these successes have come fierce matches, rivalries, "shit talk," fights (literally..jae..), yet always at the end of the day, many times end with a hug and late nights playing ranked. What I will hold most are these times. From endless laughs inside a party, to water wars (you know who you are), breakfasts, event chillen, and just meeting more and more competitors every event - it is something I really will never forget.
I've gotten to meet and talk to hundreds if not thousands of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures etc. where, without this game, or esports as a whole, would have been nearly impossible to do from the cow town I grew up in. And I got to do this all while traveling the world for a video game. A fucking video game.
As a player, its never been about being one of the best players of all time, but rather -- if you have ever actually teamed with me -- being a great teammate. One thing I try to hold true is being that guy that you just want to continue playing with. I have never been a flashy player, nor had the all-time best shotgun, sniper etc., but the one thing I value is the ability to make all my teammates better, confident, and comfortable. That is where I hope my value has been throughout the years and the value I hope my teammates have seen in me.
Obviously I need to say thank you to all the teammates: Jae, Demonic, Drix, Monster, Terror, Shane, Zkiller, Predator, Killa, Nick, Wilde, Icy, Jake, Kyle, Nox, Secret, Inersha, Nitefall, Chris, Soctanez, Munchies - you guys have played such a big role in my life and really couldn't be more thankful to all of you. Its funny, I don't think I have bad blood with anyone, and im honestly sooooo grateful. Many of you are still my very good friends.
To the new faces of gears, you guys are seriously unbelievable players and I'm glad you get to continue the gears legacy. Its an amazing game and deserves all the spotlight. You have changed the game forever, are continuously paving the way to greatness, and are a large reason why gears is where it is today.
To aspiring players, the best advice I can give is 2 things: Accept criticism, no one is the best and not one person knows everything. Having the ability to sometimes simply say "okay" whether you agree or not, will not only cause less fights, but actually lead to good practice. And of course, communicate. What separates many pros and amateurs is their ability to effectively communicate. It's far more than calling just numbers, or where a player is on the map. Listen to Fran or Xplosive speak. They not only paint the picture of the map for the whole team, but also direct the pieces so every member is on the same page. Even something simple like calling your teammates name to make sure they know you are talking to them, makes a massive difference. If you can master this, you will be an invaluable asset to any team.
From there, all I can say is thank you. Thanks to those who have personally told me they look up to me and gave me that drive to be the best. Thanks to the community for the endless support, criticism, expectations, and of course love over the last 10 years. And finally, thanks to CliffyB, JackFelling, Epic and The Coalition for creating this masterpiece of a game. Its been one hell of a ride. I hope to continue to be around, show my face, and offer up some advice. Who knows, maybe a coaching job will be in my future ;)
With a full heart,