Video games only make up half the story, however. I was lucky in that I was drawn into the world of stories before I was old enough to walk. Once I was ambulatory, it was a struggle to keep me away from the bookshelf. Whether I was reading or being read to, I grew to love the words and worlds that inhabited the pages. I devoured novel after novel, many of them in a single sitting. Even today, I persist in my pursuit of literature.
Despite my passion for reading, I never saw myself as a particularly notable writer. I even failed a state writing test in grade school, and was put in remedial writing classes. It wasn’t until eighth grade when I was thrown into the UIL Scholastic competition for timed writing that I finally discovered that I had any talent. With zero practice and all of an hour’s notice that I was going to be competing, I managed to place second out of a field of fifty, a feat that did not go unnoticed by my teacher.
Mrs. Boone taught what was essentially an extracurricular class for gifted students, and I had gotten in because of my mathematical skill. She had placed me on the school’s team for the writing event for reasons unknown to me, but I would like to think it was because she saw something in me that needed to be developed, something that I was ignoring. She had a knack for nurturing, and I give credit to her for setting me on the path that has led to where I am today. Without her fortuitous foresight and her words of encouragement - “You are exceptionally perceptive. Don’t ever lose that” - I wouldn’t be a writer at all.
Fast forward to 2010, the sequel to StarCraft is soon to come out. I’m now in high school, and the same best friend I had from grade school tells me of its release. I am excited yet again with the prospect of custom games and interracial warfare. In my stumbling around looking for content about the game, I find Day9’s YouTube channel. Like many of us here, I was drawn in by his personality and comedy and began to follow his daily show. In one of those shows, he mentions a site dedicated to StarCraft that he frequents: Team Liquid.
After some lurking, I finally make an account. Six years ago today, yamato77 was registered on Team Liquid, the username an homage to the Battlecruiser’s special ability. The rest, as they say, is history; posting history. In my time, I have posted almost ten thousand posts of mafia, balance arguments, general discussion shitposts, and general forum mistakes. It was only natural that I be drawn to this forum community. Text-based communication is my forte, video games are one of my favorite things, and the combination was a match made in nerd heaven.
Since then, I have branched out in ways I never did when I was younger. I can truly call myself a part of multiple different groups of people spread across these Liquid websites. The Team Liquid Mafia forum was my first venture, one I will not soon forget. Though I no longer have the time to commit to playing, the bonds I made with some of the other members of the forum have been enriching. Without those first connections, I would not be where I am today as a staff member on the website.
From the Mafia forum, I was introduced to the fledgling League of Legends community on Team Liquid. Before the Curse merger and LiquidLegends, the off-topic thread in the subforum was home to quite a few personalities, many of them I am now lucky to call my friends. This year, I traveled to Washington, D.C. and to Austin, Texas for the first time in my life to meet these people. They are strange and goofy but I nonetheless enjoyed their company, the time and money well spent.
Some of you probably know me from LiquidDota, so I suppose I should explain how I went from one MOBA to the other. You see, it all started with a beta key I got from a Team Liquid forumgoer back in 2012… 1200 hours later, and now I write for the fan site and play in inhouses with other tryhards like myself! I never would have had a shot at writing for the website, however, had it not been for being noticed for the other writing I have done for Liquid as a member of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive coverage team.
The origins of my involvement with the subforum are murky at best. Liquid picked up a Counter-Strike team as the game exploded in popularity, and thus the subforum was created. Back then, I had no aspirations to being an esports writer, I just wanted to play CS. I found out about the community 10-mans, and slowly but surely worked my way into the group. The 10-mans eventually dissolved but they had given me the chance to talk to the section head at the time about writing an article.
Five hours later, I had the groundwork of my first piece. I am still proud of it to this day. NA CS: A Comprehensive Look at Underperformance was my breakthrough into the world of esports coverage. From there, I became a trial member. Many months later, I was promoted to full staff. Along the way, I have produced many pieces of content, every one of which I can say I have enjoyed making. It’s been quite the ride, and it’s only just begun.
To end the blog, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some of the people who have helped me along the way:
Hapahauli, for recommending me all kinds of media, from games to anime to movies, and for playing DotA with me despite my terrible carry ways.
LordTolkien, for badgering me to come to D.C. and get out of my shell, and for helping me edit the monstrosity that was my first draft for NA CS.
Amazingxkcd, for giving me a shot at writing in the first place. Without your encouragement, I probably never would have taken the plunge.
TheEmulator, for being receptive to me wanting to write about DotA and bringing me into the LiquidDota fold.
Julmust, for helping me release my latest piece, one that I am quite proud of. It’s on the front page of LiquidDota right now. You should go read it if you haven’t
Onegu, for being a good friend to me and always being supportive of my ventures, and for sending me imported RedBull from Thailand! Some time, we should play another mafia game together, for old time’s sake.
For everyone else who I have met and talked to along the way, I thank you very much. Team Liquid means a lot to me. It always will. I have grown tremendously under the wings of the horse. Here’s to six more years.