I don’t know if I’m depressed or if it’s just my personality, but I don’t think I get the ‘eureka moments’ as quickly or as often as I should. The euphoria comes later than the moment itself.
I think experiencing all the losses has just brought me down very hard. It’s something I’ve never had to deal with before – we’ve never done this, we’ve never kept on losing, and losing, and losing.
Bad things just seem to keep happening and nothing seems to work out. Sure, it’s not going to solve all of our problems if we just start winning, though maybe if we win the stage, for the first time in a long time I’ll be able to think: “Hell yeah! Life is good.”
These days, I’m like an anxious kid; the new kid on the block. We’re working from the bottom up now, rather than being at the top; we’re not playing to win, we’re playing not to lose. It’s a very hard mindset to recover from.
I remember when we were the best and I was definitely the best hitscan player in the world at one point. I think I was still top five as time went on, able to compete with all the other Widows, McCrees, Soldiers… but then, I just started dropping slowly down the rankings. I started practicing less and less, making excuses and adopting a loser’s mentality.
After suffering gruelling losses in APEX Season 2 and 3, we kind of accepted that: “Oh well, it was a bad situation, whatever, who cares?” and rolled straight into Overwatch Contenders. I think winning Contenders gave us false confidence because we were simply much better than all the other teams but of course, we hadn’t played any Korean teams. We had no idea how good they would be.
Heading into the opening week of Overwatch League, we were like “Yeah, we won Contenders, we won the pre-season games pretty handily. We’re going to win this league ezclap!”… and yet, here we are.
I used to be very driven and focused on one thing, but these days – and I don’t know why it is – but I always have loads of things running through my mind at the same time.
For me, when I sit at a PC and start playing, I can usually just forget about everything and just focus on the game. But as soon as the game is over and I’m not playing, I’m just worrying about things all the time. I’m a worrier – it’s a bad trait to have in my opinion, it makes it very hard for me to deal with things rationally.
Of course, because of the nature of the Overwatch League, there are supposed to be multiple things for you to think about, but I just can’t stop myself from going over the edge and having a thousand different thoughts at any one time.
I suppose it’s a double-edged sword. In game, I can think about 20 different things at once: ultimate management, positioning, mind mapping where everyone is – I feel like I have a very clear awareness of what’s going on and I don’t really need to see anybody. It’s only outside of the game when that skill becomes unhelpful.
When I feel truly confident, I feel better than every other player on the server – that’s the mindset you should have. It gives you the freedom to just do whatever you want and you’ll probably win.
I think back to the 2016 Overwatch World Cup when I was with Team Finland and we were playing against South Korea. I remember almost every single moment of every single map we played against them, I knew that if I just popped off and fragged out in that one moment we would have won that map; that game. I had the ability to do it.
Moments like that kept me going, motivated to play harder and harder and to keep getting better and better. By the end of 2017 though, I started dropping off. I found myself giving excuses and asking myself questions like “Why am I not good?”.
During the break between Stages 3 and 4, we were in Dallas, looking at our future hometown. We did a lot of content and even did a fan meet on one of the days. One of my best memories of Dallas was biking around uptown – there’s an app called Lime Bike and you rent these bikes and ride them around the city – I remember thinking: “Holy shit! I’m in Dallas biking on the main road.” Two years ago I was playing online tournaments in a shitty house, now I’m here.
When I usually experience this kind of moment, while I know what I’m doing is pretty cool, I don’t often feel anything really. On this occasion, however, I was hit the sudden realization of what I was doing, why I was biking around this massive city… I never thought I’d be living in America.
It’s been a very, very long fall from the top of the world to – well, okay, we’re not rock bottom – but I’d say we’re the second worst team in the league right now. I feel like we can get it back though; this stage should be a lot better for us.
Right now is the time to wake up and just give it everything. Play 12 hours a day; go HAM, not give a shit about your own life and just sacrifice everything for the team. I think everyone in our team is going to do that and I think we’re going to do well in Stage 4.
I want to get rid of this stigma around the name “Taimou”. I don’t want everybody to be like: “Oh, Taimou was the best. What can he do to be the best again? Can he be old Taimou again?”. I don’t want that. I want to go forward.
I want to be a new “Taimou” and go above and beyond what I’ve achieved before.
Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment