The “why” of it all

In the book “The Fighter’s Mind: Inside the Mental Game”, author Sam Sheridan interviews various stars, movers, and shakers in the greater fighting community, mostly MMA fighters and trainers, to pick their brains about the intricacies of fighting. While I myself am not much of a fighting or MMA fan, I found the accounts to be fascinating because here is a group of people who put themselves through so much pain and anguish for the thing that they love. Training regimens for fighters are so much beyond what the average person would refer to as “one of the shittiest days of my life” and yet they do it day after day, year after year in order to achieve their goal. I can’t help but be in awe of their achievements, dumbstruck by the magnitude of it all. I may never in my life want something as much as these men want to be strong.

Sheridan leaves the last chapter of the book for the question that must burn brightly for so many, why? Why do this to yourself? Why do this to others? Fighting is about hurting another person, as Sheridan repeats often, but on others who are consenting in their own twisted way to being hurt. Hurt becomes not an undesirable but instead a way of showing effectiveness, the more hurt you output the better you are at your job, the worse your opponent is at avoiding it. Your own blood and bone are like health points in a game, a dispensable resource to be used to achieve your goal of knocking out your opponent, if you know how to spend them. But having the mental fortitude to make such an exchange is nearly beyond me.

And yet, I am intrigued as are many others, MMA continuing to pull more and more viewers into the fold. Something about the struggle, the exchange, the domination of one over another seems to draw people in even as the world seems to grow more and more appalled that such a sport could still exist.  Perhaps the reason we watch is the reason they fight. Contest is it’s own reward, intrinsic value. Some are willing to pay almost any price to be pitted against each other and win. Others will allow others to pay any price just to watch.

Play

Have you ever just sat and watched someone play soccer? Or Candy Crush?  What about just watching someone bounce a ball off a wall then catch it? Or one of these cup-in-ball games?  There is a vast diversity in games that people play from the overwhelmingly complicated, multi day risk style board game marathons to something as simple as throwing a ball in the air then catching it. This weekend I found myself drunkenly marveling as bar-goers played a game of swinging a loop on a string into a hook in the wall.  A simple game for sure, but somehow holding the bar’s attention for minutes at a time, each person lining up for their shot to show how they too could achieve victory in less tries than the last patrons.

If you think we are many magnitudes more complex than other animals in our game playing I suggest you reevaluate that stance, a simple ball game can be just as entertaining to us as to a dog.  Many animals play games and they have the added benefit of not needing to find a justification for why they enjoy them. The joy found in catching a ball is all the justification you need to play.  Enjoying something for its own sake, intrinsic value!

Somehow though the value of a game, of play, can become lost and muddled when meaning is needed to justify its time investment.  As someone who is hopelessly lost in my own head all too often, I wonder about the value of most everything I do but I think doing this is a mistake oftentimes.  I want to get back to my roots and enjoy the enjoyment without my added values and meanings. An ongoing journey for sure, but journeys too are intrinsically valuable.

New Project

Gears are turning, bars are filling up, something is happening here.  Weeks and months of thinking, rethinking, and general agonizing is coming to a head and I can really start getting into the nitty-gritty with my new project which I will be happy to share with everyone very shortly.  The size and scale is variable, but I feel like I’ll finally be able to help out the competitive gaming community in a tangible way which will make me feel great 🙂 plus I’ll have something to work on and collaborate with others on!  I can’t wait.

What is Esports?

Here’s just a little page to clarify what it is I mean when I talk about esports.

Esports is basically electronic sports, sports played on a computer or gaming console. They are competitive in nature, often pitting either one player against another or two teams against each other.  Just like traditional sports, they require different types of skills depending on which game you are playing, and professional players practice and train just like professional sports athletes to be the best at their game.

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That’s one evil controller

Esports is different in one major way from sports like baseball or football in that a company created the game that is being played competitively, so they own all the rights to that game.  Major League Baseball doesn’t own baseball, only runs a league and all that the league entails, while the company Riot Games OWNS everything League of Legends and thus can dictate everything around the competitive play of it.  This is a pretty major difference that changes a lot of the monetization of playing games and esports as a whole and I’ll go into that in more detail at a later point.

Giving up, or Not

For those who know me, I can be quite capricious or moody when it comes to my endeavors. I seem to have a habit of becoming overly excited for new prospects, but give up when I hit the first bumps in the road, at the first signs of trouble. It stems from multiple aspects of my personality that I’ve been thinking about and working on for a long time now, and I will continue to work on it probably until I die. I’m the odd type of perfectionist who would rather give up then fail. Combine this with my sensitivity to others opinions of me and a proclivity for negativity and you get a recipe for giving up a lot.

Tired-Man

Recently I moved to Melbourne to try and get time to myself, explore, and try some new things. So far its been a wonderful experience and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to take this on. Being in an entirely new place, without friends or family is both lonely and freeing, and the loneliness in particular is vital to taking time to reevaluate what you are doing with your life and look at your values in a new light.

In an effort to overcome my urge to achieve perfection without even trying, I’ve been reminding myself of how essential trying and failing is to improving. One thing I heard that I quite liked was a quote about learning the game Go is “Lose 100 Games As Quickly As Possible”. (In fact this guide to starting Go is applicable to whatever new endeavor you find yourself in here)

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Being able to take losses and moving on, learning, and continuing is such a powerful way to live and I want to work on being strong enough to keep working on the things that matter to me without getting sidetracked, without being beaten down by my own negativity and laziness. It’s not going to be easy and I will fail again and again, but I’ll try my hardest to come back again and again with new knowledge and more stamina. Self control is like a muscle and you can slowly improve your mentality by repeatedly doing what you can, working as hard as you can. And when you can’t work anymore, take a break, don’t assume you need to quit. Just because some days I just can’t make the energy to work doesn’t mean I should quit, it means I need to rest and try again tomorrow.

Thoughts on the new Count’s Castle

My newest tournament is up here :https://www.facebook.com/events/1236512483109135/

Coming up shortly will be the new Count’s Castle series of tournaments which will be run at my house biweekly on Mondays.  Here are my thoughts on each aspect of the tournament.

The tournaments will be run at my house, which is a great venue to use for small to medium sized tournaments.  It does involve quite a bit of work to rearrange the living room to accommodate for all the players, tables, chairs and setups, but since we don’t have to pay for the venue, you cant beat that.  If the tournaments grow to exceed the size of my house though, I will look elsewhere for more space and go from there. 

Because of the time and effort I will be putting into these events, and my philosophy on smash events in general, I will be charging a $2 venue fee for attending.  This cost doesn’t really compensate me for the time spent, its more of a token to show that the players who attend respect the time and energy that goes into this sort of thing.  The venue money will go towards more equipment, chairs, tables, cords, etc.  This fee may get adjusted down the line.  I may write at length about this another time, but i do believe that most every smash event should charge a venue fee.

The rule set for the tournament will be largely the same as other events in the area, with the small change to allow for the miifighters to use the full range of their moves.  This might allow the characters to be played, but in all likelihood nobody will notice or care since the characters have been killed off by other tournament rule sets.  I also plan on having the prize distribution favor giving more players money, since Santa Rosa players have mentioned wanting that.

The other major difference for these events is that for players who eventually lose, almost all of you, you will be given the option to continue playing matches against those who are also out of the tournament.  This will be a round robin style pairing, played out with the same tournament rules as if you two had met in bracket.  The match results will be used to rank players based on their wins and losses, and to whom they beat or lost.  As the tournament series goes on, players will be able to be seeded and play their additional after bracket matches against similarly ranked players, as a way of further including players who want to play more match ups, as well as creating a ranking system that players can enjoy following and attempting to climb.  

I’m anxious to see how people feel about the additional matches that they can play, and although the system is optional, it may pressure people into thinking they need to play more matches than just the ones in the tournament.  I’m gonna work hard to make sure that players aren’t overly rewarded in the system for playing more matches, but still encourage matches whenever possible.  I may have to revise the system a number of times to get it right, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

The Importance of Work

I’m the kind of person who might see a blog just like this one and wonder, “Does this person really think people are reading this?”.  Part of me is just really curious about the state of mind of that particular blog writer, the mentality of writing and writing in the desperate hope of gaining a readership.  But that’s looking at the blog and its writer in the wrong light.  Sure, that DOES happen, where a person wants the be seen and read, but what can all to often be forgotten or overlooked is the value in doing work for the individuals sake.  

Starting to write is hard.  Sitting down to do some task that isn’t inherently easy or quickly rewarding can be nearly monumental at times to start.  There is a large part of me that would rather be watching YouTube or playing a game right now, two things that can bring immediate gratification without any effort at all.  But unfortunately for me, doing those things doesn’t really satisfy me in the long run very often, especially when there isn’t a balance between those activities and other ones.  Writing, working on chores, planning tournaments or other events, these things are tougher to start, even tougher to finish, but leave a lasting impression on my mental state of having accomplished something worthwhile.  That FEELING that doing those tasks gives is SO worth it that you could do work that ultimately is not valued by others, gives nothing to the community, and maybe even seen as a total waste of time by those around you, and it would STILL be worth it.  Very worth it.  

Understanding the feelings and motivations that go into you as a person are very vital to actually BEING content and feeling productive, especially for a person like myself.  I might wake up in the morning and think “I have a whole day to do whatever I want, so playing video games and eating junk food seems like a great plan!”  And in some ways I’m right.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong with doing that.  But for me as a person, I WANT to feel like I’m working towards a goal.  I WANT to feel like my actions matter to others.  And I cant ignore those wants just because they are hard to work on.  The work itself on those feelings is worth it every time.

Sometimes that work isn’t appreciated and sometimes that work ends up being thrown away, like the time spent didn’t even exist.  But it DID happen, you DID do the work, you learned from the work and you FELT the energy that comes from doing work on things that matter to you, and everyone should understand that THAT FEELING is what is the most important part of work.  Feelings matter a lot more than most people think, so don’t forget.  

So if you have something that you want, get to work.  Don’t think too much about how that work will be received, don’t think too much about what that work with accomplish, don’t think too much about all the things you could do instead.  Do the work and feel the feeling of working.  Enjoy it, become addicted to it, learn from your work and use your knowledge on your next work project.  You can only go up from here.