My Future in Competitive Melee
I've been less present on social media in the past few months which has caused some people to reach out and ask where I've been. My life has taken a different direction this year and I've been focusing mainly on my future. Here's a summary of what I've been up to this summer:
At the end of May, I completed grad school, earned my Master's degree in Music Education, completed NYS certification exams to earn my teacher certification, and applied for music teacher jobs in New York. This overwhelming amount of work culminated to the beginning of June, where I performed well at one of my interviews and luckily landed my first job as a NYS public school music teacher starting this upcoming September. I've been overjoyed to finally obtain the job that I went to school for, especially so soon after graduation, and have been focusing my current attention on becoming well-prepared for the school year.
Due to this wonderful milestone, I have to make a tough decision on where my future lies in competitive Melee. At my peak performance, I felt as if I could reach heights that no other Long Islander could have been before, and I knew that I would able to crack into the top 50 easily if I went to more events. I've been managing my growth in Melee while being a student for the past 5 years, and while I've been able to make it work until this year, I no longer can devote the time and energy to maintain the skills needed to be a top level threat anymore.
Because of all of this, Super Smash Con 2019 (this weekend) will be my last major event for the foreseeable future. I've only been to two other tournaments this year (Genesis 6 and a Long Island regional Omega 3 (and I got washed at both events)), which limits my ability to be ranked at the end of the year. I will be entering Melee Singles and Melee Doubles with Kaeon one last time, and I aim to enjoy my last big tournament experience with all the homies I've made in the community over the last few years.
If you've ever supported me, whether it be by watching my streams, rooting for me in Twitch chats at locals and nationals, or cheering me on in person; thank you! I promise I won't be done playing Melee, and I still play friendlies on netplay and with other LI homies at fests. No one ever really stops playing Melee. And I'll be sure to introduce my students to the world of Smash in a lot of unique ways! :]
P.S. Many top players/community figures have been discussing about the financial burdens of competing in Melee with topics like increasing entry fee and top 8 payouts, and I personally can attest to the struggles of being a top player. In the last two years of being ranked, I've had to spend an absurd amount of money traveling to major tournaments to meet requirements, and for those talented individuals with no sponsor or low financial stability, a "pro smash-centered" lifestyle quickly becomes challenging. With the lack of developer support, Smash becoming a top tier esport (in terms of financial success) is simply a pipe dream. It's disheartening that one of the best competitive games ever created, which evolves year by year and is loved by most, cannot financially support the top 20. While I'm not sure of the best solution, I hope that the discussion of top player stability continues to be brought up, to ensure that you don't have to devote your life to content creation in order to barely make a living. If you are good at something, never do it for free.
If for some reason you've read all of this, thank you. I don't normally like big announcements of something silly like "quitting melee", but I felt that an explanation of where I'll be for the next year was important enough!