So yesterday, I competed in another fighting game tournament at a local venue in Macon called Prime Time Gaming. It was yet another joint Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat XL tournament. Despite not having the hardware (A Playstation 4 or a good enough PC), I’ve apparently become decent at playing both games. As of the recent 3 or 4 tournaments I’ve competed in, I ended up placing either 3rd or 2nd. Prime Time has had various players from outside of Macon win Street Fighter V and as of the last few couple of Mortal Kombat X tournaments, we’ve had the same local guy, this guy named Anthony, be the champ. This time around, he wasn’t present as he was unaware and out of town. With the other former champ, a player named Jibril who was also the inaugural Mortal Kombat X champion of Prime Time, also not present, all eyes were on me as the favorite to win. Granted I wanted to beat them to win for the first time, there still lay some competition in yet another outsider.
There’s been somewhat of a stigma…curse…whatever you wanna call it, involving people from outside of Macon coming in and dominating us in these games. It has been the case since the beginning from what I’ve seen. Even some locals openly calling out and criticizing local Macon players, saying we cannot even defend our own turf.
This paired with the idea of possibly winning my first Mortal Kombat X tourney after being stuck in 2nd & 3rd place, motivated me to still bear down and not get comfortable. The tournament ended up being round robin and I went undefeated. There was one final match between myself and the “outsider” here named Kezz. Seeing that I was once again close to finally winning for once and could possibly be “The Guy” to break this curse or whatever, I mentally burned myself out playing. Though Kezz didnt really feel like he was all that good at Mortal Kombat X, the guy was NO pushover. His main reason for being at Prime Time was Street Fighter V. Still after a fierce couple of bouts between my Sun God Kotal Kahn and his Ninjitsu Scorpion, Kezz came out the winner with a score of 3-2. I tallied up yet another 2nd place finish.
I was mentally fatigued after that match. Street Fighter V was instantly afterward and it was difficult getting my head back on. Seeing that I had major plans after graduating next month, this was more than likely my last time competing. I wanted to end it with a bang. I wanted to add some gold to my competitive resume. I wanted to break this losing streak vs. outsiders that Macon has.
I’ve been thinking about this all day even today. Originally, I never did get why people who placed 2nd, 3rd in contests would sometimes be upset or sad. I always thought of it the same way everyone who tried to console me after losing in grand finals (again).
“You did great,” they’d say.
“You placed higher than me.”
“You always get 2nd or 3rd here. That’s good.”
…and so on and so forth. I’m sure you get it. It’s not that I don’t like the fact I’ve constantly placed high among competitors here. It’s not that I don’t appreciate 2nd or 3rd place victories. There was a time I was nowhere near at the level I was now. Constantly placing at the bottom at every competition near and far. I think I’m starting to really feel what that competitive “fire” is like. I just really want to win. Me specifically, I’d just like to pin one first place victory on my record.
Many times I’ve seen in wrestling, anime and other TV shows, the character that just can’t seem to win the big one. Others are always telling them things along the lines of, “There’s no doubt you’re good, but you’ll always be just a B+ player”. Five points if you recognize that reference. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m in that underdog’s shoes. In my mind, there’s just something incredibly frustrating about being stuck in limbo like this. It’s like the end of the world just occurred and yet I’m not terrible enough to be thrown into the bottomless pit or good enough to drink and feast with the gods.
Interestingly enough, this could apply to almost anything I’ve done competitively. I get pretty far, sometimes to the end, only to practically choke. I can’t remember the last time I was #1 at anything. Again, praises and honorable mentions are always appreciated, but for one time I want to be the champion. Even more, I want to be a reigning-defending champion. I know with some of the all-time greats in the various areas of competition, that being in such a position encourages the strengthening and pushing of one’s limits and spirit. There’s just something oddly exciting about being the one with targets all over them. It reminds me of one of my favorite anime characters, Korosensei from Assassination Classroom. Korosensei is a tall mutant Octopus who is the target of most of the other characters in the series, seeing there is a bounty on his head. His incredible speed and sharp thinking are what makes him a difficult target to touch or damage, let alone, kill.
I wanna feel that type of tension and suspense. It encourages and invigorates me.