My experiences with being a gamer have been pretty sweet. I've been gaming since I was 4 years old and I've always loved it. Gaming has kept me from becoming a complete and total shut in, believe it or not. The old stereotype of being "that guy in your parents' basement" doesn't really apply to me here.
A few years ago I was living in a one bedroom apartment with a friend of mine. We had to split the bill 50/50 and although our monthly bills never really reached over $500, I couldn't afford it. I had a shitty minimum wage job that I had to drive 40 miles to and from almost everyday so I could hardly get by. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't ready to live on my own. So my Mom offered to let me live with her so I could finish school. It was a hard decision to make, seeing as how I lived in Louisiana and she lived in Indiana. I would have to leave everything behind, my friends, my girlfriend and the security of knowing where everything in my town was(that's important to me, anyways). I decided it was for the best and made the move. I drove from Bossier City, Louisiana all the way to Evansville, Indiana. It was a two day trip in my shitty car that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
Once I got settled in my Mom's nice little house it was time for me to get a job and start saving money. So I got a job at the local Sam's Club as a cashier. I was able to find a nice used Halo 3 edition Xbox 360 for a good price. So my days weren't full of doing nothing while I wasn't working. One day at work, right after I got off of my lunch break, this lady comes through my line with a cake. It said something along the lines of "Congratulations eBash!" Being the cashier meant I had to make small talk and everything so I said, "eBash? What is that?" To which she replied, "well do you like video games?" When she said that I assume my eyes started to glimmer as though she had just offered me a million dollars. And I said, "Yes, actually. That's pretty much all I do when I'm not working." She extended an offer to come check it out, so I did just that. And I was in awe when I saw the place.
eBash is a chain of LAN centers that are primarily in the Indiana/Illinois area, and as luck would have it, there was an eBash opening right in front of Sam's Club. My lonely days of sitting in my room playing my 360 were over. I'd actually be able to go meet people in a friendly environment where everybody was there for the same reason. It was a dream come true at the time. After I got my paycheck the next week, the first thing I did was head over to eBash and sign up for their plus membership(or something like that). When they asked what I wanted to play I didn't know. So I went with one of my favorites at the time: Guitar Hero 3. The first few times I went there were pretty lonely, believe it or not. I'm a shy person and I generally won't start a conversation with anyone due to that. So I pretty much kept to myself.
It wasn't til my 3rd or 4th night there while I was playing Rock Band did anyone really come and talk to me. Dude's name was Josh and he was a pretty laid back and chill guy. He worked there, but it was kind of slow so he just came and started chit chatting with me. And it may seem kind of sad, but that was one of the greatest feelings I'd had in a while. He asked me all the normal things: Where was I from? What was I doing in Indiana(in Evansville of all places)? That kind of stuff. I don't know. Maybe he saw that I was being really reclusive. Maybe he was just bored and wanted to chat with someone. I don't know. But Josh coming over and chatting with me made my night.
After that things got better. I got a little bit more friendly, and things were looking up. There was this kid(when I say kid, I mean 17 or 18 year old) who I saw regularly playing Super Smash Bros: Brawl. One day I decided to play some matches with him. It was a shitty time. He was power ranked 9th overall in Indiana at Brawl. He was just being a dick. And afterwards I decided I would never play anything with him ever again. Well, a few weeks later he was back, only this time he was playing Melee. I asked him what happened to Brawl and all he said back was, "Brawl sucks." I asked if he minded if I played some Melee with him, seeing as how I used to play Melee alot back home. We started playing on Final Destination with both of us using Captain Falcon. He was telling me about how he went to a tournament the week before and realized how much better of a competitive game Melee was. So he was trying to get good at Melee and I really liked that idea. So we started playing regularly. At first it was just him and me. We started getting more people interested in Evansville. After a few weeks we had gained, I think, four or five more people in our "crew."
Spencer(the original kid who was playing Brawl) held a tournament that eBash hosted called "PEEF on Earth 2." It brought in the best of the best in the competitive Melee scene from the Midwest. That was my first look at professional competitive gaming. It was amazing, and all of the pro's were really nice and helpful. I was just this scrub who couldn't do much of the technical stuff and they were pretty much inviting me to play friendlies. It was amazing. Unfortunately, I couldn't enter the tournament because I had to work both days that it was happening, but it was an amazing time, none-the-less. I fell in love with the smash scene that weekend.
After a few months, a few more of the Evansville crew and I traveled to Illinois for SMYM10. It was one of the biggest, longest running Melee tournaments in the Midwest. A lot of the top pros were there. It was my first time competing in an actual tournament and I was ridiculously nervous. I didn't make it out of pools, of course. I was still fairly new to the game. But I was able to meet alot of really good players and chit chatted with some of my favorite players whom I had only been able to admire through the wonders of youtube.
Fast forward a few months. I'm back in Louisiana living with my Dad. I started teaching my friends how to play Melee. I get the chance to drive down to Lafayette for a little Melee tourney, so I go. I once again meet some of the top players who I've only ever seen play through youtube. Cyphus, Lee Martin, TaylorHJ. It's insane. I meet some really cool people. And I'm overjoyed with the fact that the smash community is so awesome.
In closing: I've really met some awesome people through video games. I feel like if it weren't for video games I'd be a sad individual. There's three things that I feel make me truly happy in life: My girlfriend, my friends and video games. Thanks for reading.