Excellence is Not a Skill. It is an Attitude.

One of the best feelings in the world is the feeling that you are completely and utterly unstoppable.
One of the worst feelings in the world is when you feel you’re unstoppable and you get stopped.

So this weekend I traveled down to Charlotte, NC to a fighting game tournament. I had a great time and got to catch up with a couple of my friends who I haven’t seen in person for quite some time. While I was there I entered Street Fighter 4 and Persona 4 Arena.

The entire week before the tournament I committed to not playing any fighting games at all. This was not tournament related at all, more rather to get focused on other interests in my life that I had been neglecting. Anywho, the night before the tournament I played online for about an hour and went to bed. I set a goal for myself to go 4 and 2 [4 wins and 2 losses, these tournaments are double elimination so you have to lose twice to be out of the tournament]. My first round I won easily. Peace of cake, no problem. My 2nd round I had to play a well known player who came down from Virginia. He had strong fundamentals and I took my first loss [Now 1 W- 1 L]. In losers, I played against another guy who wasn’t very good and won. I then had to play against a friend of mine who I play almost every other week. It sucks when that happens, but you just have to shake hands and play your hardest. I came out the victor.

After that match, I watched a player named Kevin Landon [One of the best players in the world. Look up “Dieminion EVO 2012” on Youtube] play an unknown guy and the unknown guy was taking rounds off of him. In the end, Kevin did end up taking it, and I found out that unknown guy was to be my opponent. That being said, just by watching that match, I planted a seed of fear in myself. I know that if I were to play Kevin, I would surely lose, and if this guy was able to go toe-to-toe with him then I wouldn’t have a chance of beating the unknown guy. I sat down for my match and shook his hand. I was psyching myself out. “If I keep thinking like this before I even play the match, I’m going to lose” I thought. As I sat at the character select screen, feeling the sweat start to build up on my hands from nervousness, I knew I needed to do something. I thought back to a small article I read by a top player named “Justin Wong” arguably the best player in the US and one of the best in the world. He said that he went into each match thinking to himself, “I’m going to beat this guy, no matter what.” That phrase kept playing through my head.  I played it over and over until it went from a small disturbance in my mind like a stone falling in a pond, into an enraged mantra. I let that feeling take over, and it swept over me like an unrelenting torrent. And when the match started, I BODIED HIM. I beat him 2-0 [games are best of 3] and didn’t look back. The only thing I could think about was that fact that listening to that small phrase worked. At this point I was 4W – 1L and I figured that if I kept up on a roll like this I could actually win money [Only top 3 get paid in these tournaments].

And then in anti-climactic fashion I was trounced by a player from Atlanta, GA the next round. To his defense he was very good. We played a first to 3 game afterward for $5 and he still won. After that we played a few games and of the total 8 matches we played, I only one a single one of them. I asked him for some advice and he was happy to give it, so I guess I achieved my goal of [4W – 2L] but I wanted to go farther once I got there. That feeling of just being unstoppable was probably the highlight of the tournament for me. Then getting completely trounced was an quick lesson in humbleness that brought me back down a level or two.

If you’re wondering how I did in Persona 4 Arena, I lost to the guy who won the tournament in my first round and then lost to a guy who usually takes 1st or 2nd at a local tournament we have in Greensboro. I got my ass whipped so I need to do a lot of work.

All in all, I had a great time and I left with a good lesson in the end:

“Put your mind to something, and engross yourself in it. You’d be surprised to see how far you go.”

{ We were reading this and thought this guy is a total dork, but y’know he might be on to something… }


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