So, the time has finally come to share my thoughts on the travels from earlier in the month. Back-to-back events out of town were new to me before all this. Suffice it to say, the experience has... altered me a little.
The first stop on my way was Rumble in the Tundra 6 up in Buffalo, NY. I had always known of the event, but was never able to attend. While spectators are always welcome at events, I feel as though I wouldn't really be bringing anything of value to the proverbial table by showing up. However, that mindset faded away once I assumed the mantle of "the Voice of KPB". Once I became a representative of my team (on that particular level), it instilled within me in a sense of purpose. A responsibility, if you will. As such, I've stuck to my guns while running with that title on me. Not only do I take an immense amount of pride in it, but being recognized (more & more, I come to find out) for something that I've always secretly been insecure about has helped me grow as a person. It's been... a trip.
However, a complication arose before heading out to Buffalo. I'm fortunate to have a job that gives me weekends off, which is why making it out to events isn't that much of an issue for me. Here's the catch, though: I only ever really use my PTO to attend events. (That's right, the Dynamek One is literally working for the weekend.) Everyone else in my department usually designates their vacation time for September. More often than not, they all take a week off that month one right after the other. As I'm sure you've pieced together by now, that means that I have to cover for different members of my department at work for the better part of a whole month. It can be unbearably strenuous, to say the least. I push myself to the limit in order to not only make sure everything runs smoothly at work, but to earn the right to enjoy myself at FGC functions.
All that led to me getting horribly sick a few days before the team & I were supposed to hit the road. While it didn't surprise me -- seriously, I was practically asking for it with the way I was burning myself out -- it did pose a threat to me honoring my word. If I say I'm going to be somewhere, come hell or high water, I am going to be there. I ended up taking a day off before my scheduled day off in order to nurse/will myself back to health. If I'm to be perfectly honest, I didn't really hit the mark... I was only at about %65 - %70. There's an old Zimbabwean proverb that states: "If you could walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing." Those are some words I tend to live by, despite the fact that I sometimes take them too literally. That determination made it possible for me to attend Rumble.
Usually, whenever the stream team heads out for an event, we post up in the corresponding hotel. That didn't happen this time. Believe it or not, the TO himself opened his home to us & a few others coming from out of town. In all my days & travels, I've never experienced that level of hospitality before. Not only did it ease my nerves (remember, I've never been to Buffalo or Rumble before), but it allowed me connect with a few of the notable players in the tournament and it allowed me numerous opportunities to just hang back & talk shop with the other streamers at the event. You don't really get that level of freedom in a hotel. Being under one roof, but not necessarily multiple different ceilings, reminds us that we're all in this together.
So the day comes and the tournament kicks off in grand fashion. We get to the venue and it is impressive. The FGC stuff is relegated to the open space on the ground floor, while all Smash-related activities were held upstairs. Consoles & setups to left of me, various arcade cabinets to the right... it's not called Buffalo Game Space for nothing. Allowing everything to be out in the open, but within a slightly smaller space than the usual hotel grand ballroom made keeping everything in line so easy. Since all the streams were within earshot of each other, calling out for a competitor didn't require anyone killing their voice. Pools were run efficiently, transitions from one game to the next were smooth and everyone was able to focus on their matches without any major complications. That's a "perfect world" scenario that I didn't think existed, but Rumble proved otherwise.
Sunday rolled around and the Top 8's followed suit. Big time matches, insane crowd reaction and all the hype those walls could handle. Getting the chance to hang out with some of the notable visiting KOF XIV players made calling their matches that much more personal. We had hung mostly all night after things wrapped up on Saturday & we got better acquainted. Crossing that language barrier wasn't as painful as I'd expected. Because of that, we didn't have any problem handing over the mic to some of them for Top 3. This allowed for the Spanish audience to enjoy the show on a different level than usual. In my opinion, you can't put a price on that type of thing.
Once all the matches were done & prizes handed out, everyone came together to help clean up the venue. As the old saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. Above all else, what I took away from Rumble on that long bus ride back to Manhattan was that unity can prevail within the NY FGC. Granted, there are those who might misconstrue the essence of that statement, but that's way more their problem than it is mine. I left Buffalo with a rejuvenated sense of purpose and I intend to put it to work for the betterment of my team AND the community itself.
I'm not done just yet... this train of thought will reach its intended destination next week in a Special Edition when I revisit my eventful time down south at The Fall Classic.
TO BE CONCLUDED...