(In Jonkoping, Sweden)
In life we're all constantly learning lessons. Sometimes you learn them on your own, left to your own thoughts and ruminations. Other times, you seek those lessons out, hungry for the knowledge that the world has for you.
Often though, it's also the places we travel and the people we meet and observe that teach us more than we could ever tell them.
It's this last point that I want to relate this point to a couple of different things I've learned in the past couple weeks of being in Sweden, and attending Dreamhack Summer.
Attending an international event always inspires me as a person and as a competitor. There has never been one event that I've left not thinking, "I want to be the one on that stage in the finals. I want to know what it feels to hold a trophy up and be considered the best in the world. I want to hear the crowd chanting for me, for my team. I want to leave a legacy."
In order to do this however, I need to find that motivation, not to just keep playing and be mediocre or make it to events and lose to stronger teams, but that motivation to keep on practicing and making sure that I improve, so that next time, I'll be the one up there during those finals.
This motivation comes in strange and various ways sometimes. For example, I have a pretty decent Hanzo win ratio back in NA. 19-1 or something along those lines. Internationally I'm 0-2.
During the tournament the main two players I watched for Hanzo gameplay were Rich of Gen.G and Scsc of Ballistix. Both extremely talented players that have an enormous part in their teams success.
Even at my peak of Hanzo play I wasn't nearly as good as either of those two, even though at the time I probably thought I was, so much so that I became bored of playing the hero.
I played it a fair amount sure but that's no excuse to stop wanting to play it, especially with how far I was from being the best at it. I recall at one point making a statement along the lines of, "I would play 1000 games of Tassadar in a row if it meant my team would win every series" (Something that would be some peoples worst nightmare).
Sure playing Heroes is about having fun but the main goal of myself as well as every other professional player I believe should be to win, after all that's why we compete.
Rich and Scsc taught me I still have so far to go, and that I need to remind myself that I always will have so far to go. Every moment I'm not practicing is a moment where the rest of the competition could be gaining an advantage on me.
That's not to say I should just mindlessly grind games until they all blend together into one conglomerate of mush, but I think it should be a gentle reminder to myself.
(In the old town, in Stockholm, Sweden)
The second thing I learned really isn't specifically Heroes related at all, but something that Romedy (A wonderful psychologist who has been working with HeroesHearth) taught me.
He suggested to the team that at some point we take a snapshot of life around us, something to really take in and remember and value.
During the past couple of weeks I happened to meet someone who I've come to talk to and learn a lot about in a short time. I've also come to respect them an immense amount for who they are and the things they're accomplishing in their life. This person didn't even know about Heroes really, it was a pretty random chance meeting, but It helped me to really to remember to always appreciate life around me.
The first night meeting them we walked around Stockholm and they showed me around the city and it was beautiful. Not just the city, but the night itself. It's that night that I really thought back to Romedys words and took a moment to just take it all in and try to distinctly remember a moment.
We were sitting on a pier, overlooking the water with the beautiful city of Stockholm surrounding us.
(Not where It was but this is the most relevant picture I took in Jonkoping, Sweden)
That moment meant a lot of things to me. It reminded me how lucky I was to be able to travel the world getting to do what I love and following my dreams at the same time. It was one of the most peaceful moments I've had a very very long time, and I got to share it with someone who I know appreciated it just as much as I did. Well maybe slightly less because they had seen that view many times, but still it was a beautiful moment nonetheless.
I suppose what I'm trying to get across here is that I encourage that you do the same. You don't have to be in a foreign country to do so either. You can find any moment to appreciate the small things, to find meaning and beauty in. To find something that you know you'll remember.
*Edit - Added pictures I took while I was there :)