Professionals & Sportsmanship
Have you ever aspired to become a professional gamer and being able to play at the top level? Have you wondered what separates the top professional level players from the amateur and semi-pro players? I think the easiest way to put it is, most professional gamers are those who have been playing for many years and is putting in those 8-10+ hours a day on practising. Now, I’m not saying that this is all it takes to become a professional player. I use to put in 6-8 hours a day just on Counter-Strike, but guess what...I’ve only been to two local LANs (both 5th place finishes) and have never made it out of Open (First season – 2-6, Second Season – 5-3, Third Season – 4-4, Fourth Season (This Season) – 3-0).
Ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect”? That’s a lie. Practice doesn’t make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect. I believe any player can easily make it semi-professionally as long as they have the dedication to the game, the desire to get better and the determination, but that’s only part of it. With this you can only go so far. You would also have to practice as hard as you would play in a scrim (in dry-runs, etc.). However when it comes down to two teams that both practice as hard as they can possibly can, the team with more skill will almost always win.
Experience is also a key in playing. I stated in my first season of competitive gaming, my team was 2-6. The reason for this was mainly because we were all fairly new to the scene and had no strats and no idea what we had to do. With that, the team fell apart, and I moved on to another team. I brought what I learned from playing in that first season to this new team and we were able to go 5-3. Experience is important. Without it, you would make stupid mistakes. After a while, you learn from those mistakes and maybe next time instead of going right to shoot your opponent, you’ll go left. With experience comes game smarts. You learn to outsmart your enemies and confusing them. The reason that my team this season (same team as my second season) is 3-0 going into week 4 (and hoping to go 4-0 with tonight’s match) is because we learned from our mistakes in previous seasons and we worked on what we could to fix those mistakes. It is also the reason why many professional players can clutch in 1v4 situations. They outsmart their enemies.
Personally, I am a very passive player and I would rather sit back and let the enemy run by me before gunning them down. However, from playing the past few weeks and learning, I’ve come to a conclusion that I have to start playing more aggressive because people don’t expect a CT to push out and gun them down. Its little things like this that will help a player improve as they progress. Am I saying I will continue to play aggressive all the time? Probably not, but you have to be constantly changing it up so people don’t know what to expect.
Now with all this said, let’s say we are in a grand final. The people who are used to playing on the big stage under pressure will be able to do that much easier than the say players who have never done that or haven’t done that in a long time. When you end up playing a final in any sport, you usually have the jitters the first few points into the game. I’ve been in two straight finals for a school sport and you get extremely nervous before the match starts and the first few points in because for a whole season, you aren’t use to having 500 people in the crowd cheering or booing you.
No matter what happens in a game, you play your hardest when you’re playing and at the end of the match, you should always if possible shake the other teams hand or if it’s a game played online acknowledge your opponents. This past weekend , I went to a tournament and we played two very different teams both who were ranked higher than us. We ended up playing the #1 ranked team beating them in straight sets and at the end of the game, we shook hands and they congratulated us and said we played a great game to beat them. We beat the #3 ranked team in the final in straight sets too. Now there are a lot of emotions when you are playing in a final for a prize, but during our last tournament, we lost to the same team in the bronze medal match and they were mocking us the whole day and when they started losing in the gold medal match, they decided all of a sudden that they would do things that people could consider unsportsmanlike. At 11-16 a ball that was hit in was called out by their team’s linesman giving them a 11-17 lead and then in the second game, when they were down 23-16, the ref blows the whistle to stop the play and they decide instead of catching the ball like most teams do, they would hit at directly at one of our players. Point I’m trying to say is, whether you win or lose, do it with class and acknowledge your opponents.
With this I leave you with two quotes.
“It’s not about how often you do it, it’s when you do it.”
"In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more than that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?" (Jesse Owens)
P.S. Watching American Idol right now, and I find it amazing how this guy has such an amazing voice and can play the piano so well, but is blind. Best of luck to him.