I think about it all the time. How close we were to winning a world championship.
I had been to every RLCS Worlds up to that point, but I had never made it that far before. Usually, by the Grand Finals, I’d be watching the tournament from the stands, eliminated. Even when I got 3rd in Season 3 the possibility of winning still felt so far away.
Last time out though, not only did we make it to the grand finals, but we were up 2-1 with about two minutes left in Game 7 of a bracket reset.
We made it all the way through the winner’s bracket to meet Dignitas, the reigning world champions, who we happened to beat in a series 3-1 the day before.
They were able to tie the game and it looked like we were going to go into overtime until Turbopolsa was able to score with just four seconds left.
At that moment – I thought it was over. I had already accepted the fact that after 12 games we had finally lost. With no time left on the clock, I couldn’t have imagined what was about to happen next.
I didn’t even see the ball go up, I was in the back getting boost. By the time I turned around, JSTN was dropping the ball into the net and all I could do was scream.
We were still in it.
Overtime started and ended so quickly it felt like I barely had time to readjust my headset before Dignitas was able to score the golden goal.
Honestly, it hurt more losing it in overtime. We made it there on such a dramatic goal that losing so quickly afterwards felt that much worse. We were barely off the stage by the time Dignitas was lifting the trophy and we could hear the crowd cheering them on.
The whole thing was strange to take in.
After that loss, I was so overcome with emotion. I hadn’t cried in a long time until then, but at that moment I couldn’t keep the tears back any longer. I was really upset – not with my team, but with myself.
A lot of people blame Fireburner for the game-winning goal going in because he bumped me, but really it was my fault. His bump didn’t matter and it saved me from getting blamed. Dignitas was going to score anyway.
After I was able to reflect, sadness wasn’t the only emotion that I felt about the final; I felt proud of myself and my team. This was our first season together and we were able to make it so far.
Plus, I had come a long way as a player, and I knew it.
I feel like not many people remember that, just the season before, I had missed an open goal in Game 5 against Method and was eventually knocked out in the Loser’s Bracket, placing last in the tournament.
That was another critical moment in my career. Before that loss, I felt like, at all previous RLCS events, I was confident in my abilities and how far they could take me, but that was the first season that the competition felt different. Everyone came in very prepared and it was a much-needed reality check for me.
I had never lost that early before and it was definitely a humbling experience for me. It helped me to take a step back and showed me that I needed to refocus. There were so many new players in Season 4 and I could see how hungry they were. In the end, that loss helped me regain my hunger and it definitely made me a better player.
Playing at the World Championship in London with JSTN last season really helped put things into perspective.
Ahead of the tournament, I felt like I was losing my excitement for the game. For me, it felt like just another Worlds, but it was his first time being there, and I could see how much making it meant to him.
I really value consistency and that’s something I’ve tried to maintain throughout my career. As one of the veterans of the Rocket League scene I’ve seen a lot of players fall off, and I don’t want to let that happen to me.
I don’t get nervous before LANs anymore. It’s something I’m so used to at this point that my preparation doesn’t change either. I treat it like it’s just another week of league play because I know that I’m always putting in the work to stay at a high level.
Even though Worlds is almost here, I still haven’t forgotten about last season’s loss in the Grand Finals. It’s something that’s always on my mind.
I want to win the RLCS so bad.
I envisage what it would be like to lift the trophy at the end of the season almost every day. In Vegas, I’ll have another opportunity to make it happen.
Image Credit: GarretG