I'm really feeling it!

Competitive Pressure, the Aftermath

In my previous article of a similar title, I wrote about an upcoming tournament, and my nervousness at competing in it. I received several requests to provide an update on how I performed, and so, much to my chagrin, here it is:

I lost. Terribly. Out of the 128 entrants, I tied for 64th. My sole win was a DQ, as my opponent wasn’t there for my first-round match, meaning of the two tournament games that I played, I lost both of them.


To say that I was upset and disappointed would be a massive understatement. I was such a volatile mix of emotions that it was ridiculous. I was furious at myself for making mistakes in gameplay. I was embarassed that I had performed so poorly when people expected me to do well. I was angry that I’d volunteered to bring a console setup to the event, and so would be stuck there for another 4-5 hours while it was used. I even thought about having to write this post, and much I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Thankfully, as time passed, I let go of a lot of those emotions. I played some friendly matches with people (including Officer Jenny, one Smasher I look up to, and who is super friendly). I watched matches and cheered people on. It turned out to be a good experience, overall.

Looking back, despite my best efforts, I put myself under too much pressure. I couldn’t get out of my own head, and it caused me to make errors when playing. The added pressure from those errors compounded on top of the existing pressure, and eventually it just got to the point where I imploded. I had clear chances to win both games that I lost; I just didn’t.

I had a bad taste in my mouth after Saturday, and so I took a trip south to participate in a Sunday weekly Smash event. I’d only been to the venue once before, but the difference in environment was amazing. People recognized me (which isn’t necessarily uncommon), but people also seemed genuinely happy and excited that I’d made the trip. It was a much smaller-scale affair, but the entire environment was so much more relaxed and casual that I found the absence of pressure incredible. I still didn’t do exceptionally well, but my mindset was completely different from the day before.


Finally, yesterday, I attended the regular weekly event in Maryland. My mentality going into it was all wrong - I’d fought through traffic for over two hours to get there and had to jump right into playing without any time to warm up or relax. I won my first game, and my second was immediately called to be played on the streaming setup, for people everywhere to watch. My hands were literally shaking and I played poorly, and I lost. I almost wanted to walk out then and there, because it was all so frustrating. I didn’t, though - I found a quiet corner and sat, giving myself time to just chill the hell out. It helped. I won another four matches in a row before being knocked out by a really good player.


As the tournament organizer put it: “What’s up? You (do crappy) at the Arcadian, but you come here and play ranked people and get top 12?”. It’s true - I tied for 9th, out of 67 people. I can’t explain it, other than to note, once again, how much of an impact your mindset has on... well, everything.

It’s easy to say “make sure to have fun”. It’s a good concept to always keep in mind. Competitions, though, aren’t always about fun. They’re about competing, and people who truly care about competing won’t always have fun. They’ll get disappointed when they lose. Frustrated. Upset. All of these things. I think the key has to be, deep inside, still having fun even when those things happen. Otherwise, you have no reason to continue competing.


Thanks to everyone who read the original post and supported me! I’ll keep on trying to do better. Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to report back with a major victory or something.

VOD’s (because people have asked):

Tuesday night tournaments are hosted by VGBootCamp - https://www.youtube.com/user/VideoGame…


Wednesday night tournaments are hosted by DC eSports - https://www.youtube.com/user/DCeSports…

Sunday night tournaments are hosted by Dunham Gaming - https://www.youtube.com/user/dunhamgam…


I’m debating about whether to try to start actively streaming on Twitch or anything. I’m not home enough to do but so much of it. Thanks for reading, everyone, and have a great (rest of the) week!

- Your friendly non-neighborhood Zephyr

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