While the normal (or at least less weird) colleagues of mine are watching football (soccer for you yanks) or basketball, I’m doing something a bit more eclectic.
I’m watching Dota 2. Specifically, The International 6, aka TI6.
I feel like E-Sports is a guilt-free pleasure. Retiring players don’t have to deal with massive brain injuries that impair them for the rest of their life, there’s no college apparatus elevating players’ unhealthy egos leading them to acts of violent entitlement, there’s no changeroom and therefore no locker room antics, and most of all, it’s not yet big enough to blackmail cities into building new arenas to host them.
Big tournaments, like The International, are played on a Local Area Network. The stakes are high, and lag would be unacceptable. Even though the LANs often rent arenas to throw the game onto massive monitors and fill out the audience with nerds like myself (or I would be there, except America terrifies me), they’re not typically blackmailing cities the way sportsball sports do. Perhaps most importantly to me–teams do not represent nations. There is no nationalist under current in Dota 2, because the players often are from all over, and they just don’t represent a country. That’s a big turn-off for me in sportsball sports. Now I can like a team because of the way they play without being seen as a “traitor.”
Rewind a bit–I’m in high school, depressed as fuck, with no idea why this is the case. I find a game I’m kinda okay at, and play it obsessively, going from kinda okay to pretty alright. The competence rewards my self esteem and keeps me alive long enough to not kill myself. So here I am. Still playing Dota 2 now and then, though I’ve found other pursuits which are more fulfilling and less stressful. Every now and then I’ll do a few rounds of matchmaking just to make sure I still know how to play in the current patch.
I’m cheering hard for Escape Gaming, because syndereN is one of my favourite team captains, and his team has been performing fabulously in the qualifiers so far. Don’t post spoilers. I know as of this writing that the second Euro qualifier has been decided, but I haven’t finished watching Escape’s games, and if you spoil them I will see you banned from every blag on this network!