I Watched a Starcraft Tournament Last Night, Guys
And it Kind of Made Me Want to Cry
As supportive as my husband Micah is of this whole writing thing, he routinely reminds me that playing Starcraft competitively is a completely viable and potentially lucrative work-from-home career option.
To him, this seemed like a far more attractive prospect than say, selling Avon or essential oils out of our living room (put that way, I actually can’t disagree). If our roles were reversed and he was a stay-at-home dad, I’m sure he would probably have worked his way to the top of the Starcraft world by this point.
As much as I appreciate his faith in me, wild rancors could not induce me engage in this line of work. I don’t speak that kind of nerd. Any nerd knows that the first rule of nerdy-ness is to stay in your lane. This allows you to look down your nose at other kinds of nerds, while they look down their nose at you, allowing both parties to maintain some baseline level of dignity.
As previously discussed, I would have remained blissfully ignorant of the world of strategy gaming if it weren’t for Micah. When he first mentioned Age of Empires to me, I had less than zero interest in it, partly because I misheard the title and for months operated under the impression that it was called Age of Vampires (I hate vampires).
I started playing Starcraft a few weeks ago for the same reason that I started playing Age of Empires a few years ago: because I love my husband very much … even more than Star Wars, or dignity.
I’ve become a passable AoE player, but I’m starting out on the bottom rung again with Starcraft. Most of my gameplay consists of sending cheap military units into certain death.
Last night we were trying to decide what to put in front of our faces as an excuse to sit on the couch (also known as “deciding what to watch”), and Micah jokingly suggested that we watch a Starcraft tournament.
“Why not?” were the words that came out of my mouth. “Maybe I’ll pick up some strategies.”
Four minutes later, I found myself sitting in front of a whole new world of geekery. This is as pure and unbridled as it comes, folks. I was unprepared for the level of legitimacy that Starcraft tournaments have achieved. Did you know that these guys get corporate sponsorships? At every break they’d cut to a shot of one of the players drinking Red Bull or something. The gameplay was expertly dissected by enthusiastic commentators. The only thing that gave away that this was not a major sporting event was the players themselves. It was pretty funny to watch as the camera would swing over to them as the commentators would play up their stats and try to dramatize the rivalry, but their blank refusals to play to the camera would immediately expose them as just a couple of nerdy guys who really just want to get back to Starcrafting.
TY and Nerchio (screen names? hopefully?) got down to business. The longer I watched, the more I felt my complete unworthiness to be in the presence of such gods.
See, if I had watched this before I started playing Starcraft, I could have written the whole thing off as infantile and not even bothered to try and follow what was going on. But no, I had just enough knowledge of the game to realize how far above me they really were. Me, pick up strategies from them? Their thoughts are higher than my thoughts, their ways, higher than my ways.
“How did they reach maximum population that soon?! I never even saw them building supply depots!”
“Wait — you can do that? How are they doing that?!”
“Where did they build that military unit? I’ve never even seen that military unit.”
The reality is, that in the case of some future hostile alien invasion, our best hope probably rests on TY, Nerchio & Co. (wait — isn’t that basically the premise of Ender’s Game?) I feel bad that I made fun of the likes of them during my high school years and later (all while conducting completely serious discussions on the Elvish language, I might add).
So to all you professional Starcrafters out there: respect. Also I would like to say I’m sorry that I called you a “pasty-faced Dorito chip eater”. If I ran the world, we would all be watching you play your nerdacious tournaments and the Superbowl would no longer be A Thing.
You’ve inspired me and also given me one more category in which to feel 100% inadequate.