Aug 30th, 2013
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  1. For as long as I can remember, I've had something I want to accomplish, something unimportant in the grand scheme of things but close to my heart.
  3. “Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the World Championship Finals!
  5. Maybe it's a childish dream, one better discarded in favour of growing up, but it's mine.
  7. “Boy do we have a treat for you tonight.”
  9. Beginning around my sixth birthday, I watched athletes – the best in the world – show how they could overcome the physical limitations of humans through dedication.
  11. “Representing the Best of the West, we have North America's The Insistent Gamers!
  13. I aspired to do what they did, to represent the epitome of skill as a result of hard-work, years and years of pushing myself and my peers to perform above and beyond what people thought possible.
  15. “Against them, we have the undisputed Korean Powerhouse, Cutting-Edge Gaming Team Pinnacle!
  17. What stage didn't matter, so long as I found the stage for me and that stage, well, I'd grown up gaming, grown into thinking over and over about strategies and analysing how my opponents played, turning complex reasoning into instinctual reactions.
  19. “I wouldn't call it an exaggeration to proclaim this the best set of matches anyone will see in League of Legends for a long time.”
  21. So, I played all sorts of games and genres, building up my mechanical and mental skills, improving through learning how to improve, through applying the right training, through adjustments to my attitude, through observing stronger players, through diet and exercise, through my dedication.
  23. “Especially considering the calibre of players, the mid-lane promising breathtaking action with the unrivalled play of Kerrek against the indomitable presence of Pride.”
  25. Drawn towards the team games, towards the deep strategies and complex metas, I fell in love with the likes of Defence of the Ancients, Heroes of Newearth, League of Legends.
  27. “The players are ready, we casters are ready; crowd, are you ready?
  29. Drawn into arguments with my family, trying to make them realise how much it all meant to me, slowly bringing them to accept my ambitions.
  31. “Here we go, into the picks and bans.”
  33. Drawn into failure and disappointment, unable to force my view of the game onto reality, feeling my actions misalign with what happened.
  35. “They're quick off the bat, both teams going for fairly standard bans: Diana, Twisted Fate, Amumu from TIG and Vayne, Zed, Rumble from Pinnacle.”
  37. Some days, dark days, I asked myself if I could truly become professional, if perseverance would actually pay off, if greatness could be forged from mediocrity.
  39. “The clash of cultures is in full swing for the first game, Pinnacle running a fast-push composition beloved by the Korean scene, while TIG bring out the meaty teamfighting engage-comp.”
  41. Other days, I didn't have time to doubt myself, not when I had so far to go, mechanics to hone, theories to craft, team mates to lead.
  43. “Oh my, TIG are looking like they'll be caught on the wrong-foot, Pinnacle bringing a five-champ invade out of range for the defensive wards.”
  45. Everyday, I worked hard, people not understanding that I hadn't chosen a job, I'd chosen a lifestyle, one that demanded excellence or bust.
  47. “They've managed to claw one kill back from the disastrous start, but Kerrek is the man they'd want it on, especially with the double on Pinnacle.”
  49. In the early days, I fought with my team, lost many members, gained a reputation as a taskmaster and an egotist, all in pursuit of that necessary excellence.
  51. “Showing their composition's strength, Pinnacle are roaming and putting enormous pressure onto the turrets for so early in the game, already forcing out the two teleports from TIG.”
  53. They challenged my leadership, my skill, everything they could, never understanding my dedication exceeded what I demanded from them, always underestimating just how much harder I'd worked than them.
  55. “That's three towers to none for Pinnacle, but TIG are forcing this dragon and that should keep the gold disparity from drifting.”
  57. Before my first championship, the first competitive game I played against truly skilled players, I don't think a day went by when I didn't have to threaten dismissal to keep everyone in line.
  59. “The game's slowed down now TIG have the items they need to pose a threat, Pinnacle recognising they mustn't bite off more than they can chew.”
  61. After we lost, they understood that I hadn't been doing it all for fun, maybe even some true respect forming from my Most Valuable Summoner performance in our only victory that kept it from being a complete stomp.
  63. “Another tower for another dragon, keeping the gold steady, though Pinnacle are enjoying the perks of two jungles to farm.”
  65. Problems persisted, but understanding let me order, let me teach, let me inspire them.
  67. “Despite the composition name, Pinnacle are playing a slow game like the Europeans favour, showing their poise as they play the gold game perfectly, never giving TIG's team-fight comp the opportunity to brawl that it so desperately wants.”
  69. We made it to more finals, faced greater teams, came away with prestigious titles, each time letting me demand more from my team as true passion infected them, pushing them like it always did me.
  71. “TIG are getting restless and Pinnacle know it.”
  73. So often, I'd been asked for the secret to my success, and I would laugh and tell them that I had none, that any and all success belonged to the team and the team alone.
  75. “A bad engage by Piñata, but TIG knows they need the turret to win a fight right now.”
  77. Fans after autographs and pictures and a few words, it made me want to scream and shout, to yell at them for... for admiring me, someone not worth admiration.
  79. “That's game, first match going to Pinnacle in a master-class of what people mean when they say Korean domination.”
  81. I and another team-mate made it onto the All-Stars team, the winners of the tournament taking what I considered the second-highest honour, behind only the World Championship.
  83. “Oh my word, TIG certainly aren't showing any fear with this composition: Akali, Katarina and Tristana as sort of assassin-reset champions, Nocturne to dive for that first reset, Leona to set up the engage; Pinnacle are wise to this though, Kayle no doubt going to do her best to keep away the initial kill.”
  85. Though close matches, my passion prevailed in game, helping bring us victory against all other regions and giving me my first title I cherished: Most Valuable All-Stars Summoner.
  87. “If anyone doubted why Puss In Boots used to have Leona banned out against him, that game shows why, masterful Solar Flares easily getting three, four, even five champ stuns, followed by chaining the rest of her crowd-control perfectly, letting Nocturne get the assassination on Kayle, leaving the others to clean up.”
  89. When Summer neared and the World Championship with it, I made sure my team didn't slack off, even when the other competitions drew to a close and their empty reasoning pleaded for a break, all while scouting and analysing the other qualifying teams from around the world.
  91. “Pinnacle are putting all their faith into Wrath, running a four-man support squad for Vayne – this is a going to be a real treat to see in the hands of such perfectionists.”
  93. The group round: the first team, the second team, the third team, they didn't phase us, their strengths all on individual skill and lacking co-ordination, finding us stronger mechanically and mentally and buckling in two-zero defeats, no game breaking half an hour long.
  95. “I doubt Leona's going to be in any more games this afternoon, Patience showing us just how effective Leona is at peeling, keeping everyone off Vayne so she could decimate TIG where they stood.”
  97. Quarter-finalists showed promise, with skill comparable to ours and a strong semblance of strategy, the latter of which read as a guide of how to beat them, quite handily too in another two-zero.
  99. “This is going to be one hell of a match, both sides going for team compositions centred around layering ultimate abilities and area of effect damage setting up a reset champion, promising action-packed engagements once everyone hits six and gets their ultimates.”
  101. Semi-finals brought us against one of the Chinese teams that jockeyed for first in their region, one we'd faced in many international tournaments, superbly skilled and led by a sharp mind that could take apart strategies after one game.
  103. “Showing they're no slouches when it comes to a controlled play style, TIG bring the series to two all after taking a decisive win in a Baron fight, getting their combos off beautifully and letting Kerrek clean up on Katarina for a well-deserved Pentakill.”
  105. He lived up to his reputation, cracking apart our strategy from the first game to give us our first defeat, yet that stuck at one with the third game going to us.
  107. “Well, ladies and gentlemen, I said it at the start and I'll say it again now: these have been the best matches I reckon League of Legends will see for a while and the final winner-takes-all game should be no different.”
  109. So, we made it to the World Championship finals, winning two games, losing two games, one more game to go to decide it all.
  111. “The teams are ready, we casters are ready, crowd, are you ready?
  113. Time to show the world how hard I trained, how much work I put in, how far my dedication reached.
  115. “There they go into champion select, where the game truly begins.”
  117. Time to show the world that I am an athlete.
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