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My Evo 2017 - A Motivational Experience

For the last four years, I've been attending the Evolution Fighting Game Championships, or Evo for short. I've yet to get into a top 8, or win any money. So why do I continue going? This is a different view, something that I think anyone can use for motivation, and for them to see why I and so many others play fighting games.

For the most part of every year, I play fighting games. The latest version of Street Fighter, and one or two more games. I love fighting games. I enjoy the game of mental chess that a fighting game match is. I love the competitive nature. The learning experience itself, which has literally hundreds of pieces of data you need to memorize for each game. The mythos of each game, you end up becoming endeared to some of the characters in these games, and they become a part of you. The people you meet, whether locally or in an event outside your city, touch you and leave you with many memories, even if you don't talk much.

In the end, we are just people playing games, hitting buttons on a controller and wiggling a stick right? Who the hell cares? As I took my arcade stick to the stage shown above, all I could think of was the games to come. Spoiler alert: I lost. However, I wasn't thinking about the fact that I was about to be seen playing a video game by millions. I didn't think about the fact that I was about to control The Joker to fight another comic book character. I was thinking about the time I put into the game, tactics I had practiced, and that I had practiced to earn my way up there. It didn't matter what the "thing" is, I was there because I earned it.

Most hot dogs eaten in one sitting? That's a thing. Nationally ranked kite surfer? That's also a thing. First person to reach one million gamerscore on Xbox Live? It happened. Most successful person or people without a college education? Also a thing. The point I'm trying to make, is that hard work, practice, and passion, applies to everything. It doesn't matter what you are focused on, there will be someone who feels it's silly, or a waste of time. It isn't. Whatever it is you are passionate about, you should give it your all, regardless of what it is. My plea here is two-fold: give it your all, and never dismiss someone's passion as dumb or a waste of time.

I am fortunate to have an amazing wife that attends these events with me. She does it to support me of course, but she also loves it because of the passion around the event. All the hard work that goes into something that culminates in one weekend, full of victory and heartbreak. You get to experience both, and because these are one no one matches, you get to see both. Not to sound cliche, but it is literally the triumph of the human spirit. Consider the following:

  • Paradigm - A Marvel 3 player who made top 8. He drove 3 hours to Wednesday Night Fights every week to practice, would leave after 1AM, drive 3 hours again, only to sleep two hours to then leave to work.

  • Tokido - The Evo 2017 Street Fighter 5 World Champion. He's been playing for over a decade. Ever since he started playing Street Fighter 4, he would get close to the top, but he didn't reach it. Now he enters top 8 in the losers side, and makes an amazing run to take it all.

You can take either of these stories, of which there are several like them, and translate them into anything. The person who did it to work out enough to reach their goal. The person who would get up early or stay up late to make their website succeed. The person who worked full time and also went to school to pursue a degree or certification. The dedication it takes, it is tough to muster, but it is very inspiring. Consistency. Motivation. Passion. The two examples above encompass all of these qualities, It doesn't matter that it's video games. The work is there!

This year was my best performance yet. I made it out of my Street Fighter 5 pool in the loser's side. After that I lost to Viewsonic | Chuan, but what a journey. The feeling of pride I had when I got out of my pool, it was amazing. I know for lots of players, getting out of their pool is nothing special, but this is a new level for me. I told my wife that getting out of my Evo pool at least once was on my bucket list, but no more. It was a lot of work that culminated in a few hours of competition.

So now what? I am hungrier than I ever have been. The great thing, is that I feel an increased motivation in everything I do in life. This is my point with all this. This competition, and the other small ones along the way, made me feel so proud of myself. There will be no "off season" this year. I will continue practicing to get better and better. I'm sure that will continue into the other parts of my life as well. Marriage, Family. Work. Fitness. Cash Boner.

This is why I am so thankful that fighting games exist, and that so many people share this passion. I again implore you to look at all this spectacle, and even if you don't understand it, be motivated by it. Use it to refocus on your passion. or find it if you don't have it yet. I'll end this with the best quote from Evo 2017, spoken by the champion himself, a quote that you can trade the first half of for whatever you are passionate about, and if you truly believe it, your life will be a lot better: "Fighting games are great".

They sure are. See you on the battlefield boners!

#FGC #Blog #Hequity #TheGrind

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