The Dynamek Perspective – Special Edition: My Sunny August Weekend

If there's one thing that sucks above all else, it's vacation recoil. Bad enough we all have to deal with tournament withdrawal, but that violent shove back into reality can be a real bitch. That's what has held me up & off of schedule and, for that, I apologize. Now, let's talk Summer Jam 9...

A few months back, I used the Special Edition to detail my experience at Combo Breaker. In essence, I seek to do the same thing here. However, before going any further, I need to make it very clear that when I'm at an EC tournament, I'm on the clock. First & foremost, I'm there to work & there's always plenty that needs to be done when you're responsible for one the event's streams. This year was especially arduous due to the fact that our friend (and streamer extraordinaire) Bifuteki was going to be absent since he was covering PAX Prime. What this meant to us was that we would be receiving more games on our stream schedule and, therefore, more responsibilities. We were going to get the second stage (and with it, a huge boost in visibility), too, but that opportunity had apparently evaporated by the time we arrived at the venue. In the calm words of Forrest Gump: "That's all I have to say about that." Moving on...

As an event streamer, before you can partake in any Day 0 foolishness (y'all know what I'm talking about), you have to get on the venue floor & set up the placing of your broadcast. There needs to be a quick inventory of your equipment, tables & chairs need to be arranged, your projector/screen needs to placed in an optimal location so as to not clutter or hinder any eventual movement, connection speeds need to be tested so as to avoid complications during the broadcast, etc, etc. Mind you, depending on when you get there (timing is everything), all that & more might need to get done before you even unpack. Also, if you're part of or leading a team, you have to double check with your accompanying members to make sure everyone's present & accounted for... more or less. Being in charge of an FGC team at a major is almost like being a scout leader on a field trip.

Once all that's sorted out, you can figuratively let your hair down & kick back for a while. Find some casuals, hit up the Arcade Room, get some food or have a few drinks at the bar. Regardless of what you do, just remember one very important thing: You're on the hook for a 10-hour broadcast tomorrow, so don't get too crazy. Know your limits, be aware of your surroundings, stay around people you trust & get -- at the very least -- 5 hours of sleep. Trust me, you're going to need the energy for Pools Day. Here's where the usual experience & what happened with me part ways. You see, I've been fortunate enough to build a sturdy working relationship with a model from Miami. This year & last, she came up to Philly and repped our team. What made this year special was that she had intentions of competing in the cosplay contest. She came by the hotel with her boyfriend & made themselves comfortable among the crowd. We joked, we drank, we laughed, she flashed a player's girlfriend... it was an overall good night and just the shot of positivity I needed to psyche everyone up for Saturday.

When I woke up on Saturday, my phone was flooded with messages from various parties. All of them, however, were saying the same thing: something went wrong last night. During the wee hours between night & morning, there was an altercation between a player & my friend from Miami. As far as bad news goes, this took the cake. All this went down while I was (very) unconscious, so I had to piece things together from a few different sources & try to smooth things over so as to not lose the connection. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any of that done early in the morning, so my pancake breakfast was bittersweet. A little while before the broadcast went live, I was finally able to hear from my Miami people. Once I got all the details, I went about running damage control. A few of phone calls & $100 later, all was (tenuously) well. It was time to start the show.

For those of you who (somehow) might be unaware, I usually handle the commentary during most of KPB's broadcasts. It's one of my many responsibilities on the team. However, because we were going to have so many games on our broadcast schedule, I decided to step back & let the players/usual suspects for each game handle that. As long I'm on the mic, I will always concede to experience. If there's a game being played that I genuinely do not have any real experience with, I will gladly hand over commentary duties to someone who does. As a trade off, I became the production crew's go-for. Admittedly different, sure, but it felt good to be in constant motion during an event again. Besides, I was saving my voice for Sunday night. (More on that in a bit.) Once night fell, things got interesting. The cosplay contest & the exhibition matches gave everybody reasons to cheer. For me, it was fun being able to see it all from the crowd. Before long, Saturday was in the books and Finals Day lay before me. My time to shine was steadily approaching.

I woke up on Sunday relieved to find that my phone hadn't exploded with messages like the morning before. Was actually able to enjoy my pancake breakfast this time... and they were really good, too. Throughout the day, I made it my business to focus on the main event of our broadcast. You see, for the last few months, I have been campaigning like a mad man to get Skullgirls more notoriety in this region. I've been so adamant about it that I personally put up a $500 pot bonus for the game at Summer Jam. News of this enthusiasm reached further out than I had anticipated. A few weeks prior, it was made public that Autumn Games would match my offer. For anyone keeping score, that kicked up the bonus to a cool $1,000. Had we been able to get a few more players, that thousand would have jumped up to $1,250. However, of the needed 64 entrees, we ended up with 52. Considering that those numbers bested the turnouts of a lot of other games at the event, 52 was a victory. Seeing that community come up like it has since last year has been the great joy of my 2015. From what I heard among the players present, NEC XVI is going to be even bigger.


I am nowhere dense or arrogant enough to claim inspiration for this showing of support, but I am simply thrilled to see it happen... frankly, I can't think of any community that deserves it more than the SGNation. 

Once all the games were played & the prizes handed out, we went off the air. I congratulated the winners & those who joined me on commentary. We dismantled all our gear, bagged it up all nice & neat, then headed back to the room to unwind. We had done our job & done it well. It's not everyday you get accredited for saving a game, y'know? We went to the bar for last call to celebrate with a drink... or that was our intention, at least. We ended up being witness to a little after hours exchanging of words from a visitor to this region (who apparently didn't think too highly of the event) and a figure within our own EC community who needs no introduction. Soon thereafter, we shared a drink with Big E himself before calling it a night. Come Monday morning, we weren't a production crew anymore... we were a handful people that needed to make their way back home so we could get ready for work on Tuesday. All in all, it was a good weekend...

Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.

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