Brotherly Love

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[Dere proves once and for all that children are terrible and the only good taste in the world comes from adults. ~Strider]

These past couple months, between the craziness that is work and the craziness that is my home life, I’ve had some time to myself to play video games and contemplate. During these contemplative times, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my relationships and friendships I’ve developed and lost. Thinking about the reasons that precipitated these friendships. One of these relationships I’ve been thinking about recently is my friendship with my brother. A relationship that started rocky, but has developed into a closeness that I’d be lost without. My brother has become, what I consider, my best friend. At least in part I have my old Xbox 360 to thank.

Growing up, we were not a close brother/brother duo. My brother was younger than me and when we were still kids we fought.  We fought so hard. We would get into fights that made some of the stuff you see in WWE looks like kids play. As embarrassing as it is, even though I was the older brother, I got my ass handed to me numerous times.  I mean looking back, it’s pretty obvious as to the reason. Dere is a lover not a fighter. But still, when you’re a 12-year-old getting his ass beat by a 9-year-old (8-and-a-half-year-old), that is embarrassing.

As time went on and we both got older, we continued to not like each other too much.  If anything, our dislike for each other grew. It grew to the point that even living in the same house, we hardly ever spoke to each other. My parents tried to get us on the same page, but we were just too different. Looking back, this rift was mainly my part.  I can admit at this point in my life I was jealous of my brother.  He was an athlete, a straight A student, and popular. All things I never could be. I resented him for being better and it was no fault of his. He never rubbed it in my face, but alas, I hated him for being so damn good.

I went through college and we hardly ever spoke. We’d have the occasional family get together and we’d exchange pleasantries and leave it at that. One get together I remember, I was just finished with college and my brother was getting ready to set off on his collegiate adventure. I overheard him talking with his girlfriend and talking about getting a 360 before he went to college. He was telling her about the games he was getting for it and his Xbox Live name. For some reason, the name stuck in my mind and would come to me later.

Later that year, as I was going through some of my own issues, I was bored one night and on Xbox Live. I was playing COD Modern Warfare 2 online with complete strangers and getting owned.  It was quite tragic. On a whim, I decided to send him an invite to play together. Expecting nothing to come of this, I was shocked seconds later to see he had joined. The first couple of matches we played together, we said very little if anything to each other. But it just clicked. We had complimentary styles. I was aggressive where as he liked to be supportive. It was amazing how well we meshed and played together that quickly.

After a few games together, and actually doing quite well, we started to open up and talk a lot more. We mainly talked about the game, talked about strategy, enemy positions, all that jazz. We both were trying so hard to get the allusive nuke that was such a rush.  My brother got one pretty quickly and I remember to this day, on the map Storm, my brother said to me before the match “I’ve got your back.” And he did. That was the match I got my first nuke, and it was thanks to my bro always watching my back. That was the turning point in our sibling relationship. Thank you COD.

Over the next weeks and months we continued to play COD, games of Halo, Gears of War together online. We just got well with those type of games and complimented each other’s playing styles. Slowly, we got to the point where we talked about other stuff while playing. His school, my job, friends, family. We finally were getting to know each other. Before each gaming session, we would always say to one another I’ve got your back. Say what you will about COD, I still to this day credit COD with helping me develop a friendship with my brother.

As the years passed, and we continued to meet for our online gaming sessions, we now had reached the point that we went out of our way to hang out with one another. We’d always start by talking video games and it would end up with much more meaningful conversations on how each of us were doing. Many times we’d talk about our new games we were getting only to realize we were getting the same games. I also can’t count the amount of times we told each other some awesome story about Skyrim, probably our favorite gaming conversation starter.

Throughout the past eight years my brother and I have become what I would consider best friends. Hard to believe I can attribute at least some of that to COD. We’ve become so close, that he was the best man at my wedding and I will be his best man for his upcoming wedding. Recently we’ve had lots of difficulties creep up. With my dad being sick, we were always there to talk with each other. We met many times on Elder Scrolls Online to take out our frustration on some dreugh. Always, we tell each other that we have the other’s back.

Looking back on things, the reason I got my Xbox One was probably because that’s what my brother was getting. It was nostalgic for me and it gave me that sense that I could always go to Xbox Live to find someone who had my back. I just wish I’d been a little nicer when we were younger, but hey, I was young and stupid.

I’m thankful now everyday to my Xbox 360 and COD for bridging that gap between brothers. Without it, we probably wouldn’t be as close as we are and that’s something I’ve needed. When I found out my wife was sick, my brother was the second person I told after my father. Like he has said recently, the first thing he told me was that “He’s got my back”. Nothing better than a brother who is right behind you protecting you from those noob tubers life sends your way