The Story of My First Time (at an MLG)

Hello there! My name is Jeff Bigg, but for those of you familiar with the Day9tv chat room, I am better known as littlebig11. Since I subscribe to Day9, and get so much out of his shows and stories, I figured that I would share a story of my own with you. So I encourage you to sit down, relax, and let me tell you the story of my experience at MLG Dallas 2013.
The idea to go to an MLG came to me right after the Battle.net World Championships. I saw how awesome everything there looked and wondered, "Why can't I go to something like that?" I had never been to any tournament like that ever in my life, and so the prospect was extremely exciting. So, when the announcement came for the Dallas tournament, I knew that I just had to go. I managed to find another person from my university's CSL team that wanted to go, and suddenly, we were both on a path that would lead to the best weekend of our lives.Time lapse for a couple weeks, and finally the day had arrived. Everything had been planned, packed, and prepared. Anuroop (the guy I went with, he also went by NZ) and I were ready to start our adventure onto MLG. However, the fun couldn't start right away as we had to get from Champaign, Illinois to Dallas, Texas. I had arranged for my dear wonderful brother Paul to pick us up, and then take us to St. Louis where we would then travel by train onto Dallas. What followed were the 21 most boring hours of my life. The worst part was being on the train, where I would have liked to sleep, but found no respite, and only managed to snag one hour. 

We were totally ready to go

When we arrived in Dallas, we knew from the moment that we set foot on the ground that this is when the fun would start! After checking in to our hotel room (within 5 minutes walking distance of the MLG) we set out to do what all gamer would do in 72 degree weather - go inside and play video games all day! Arriving at the convention center early, we took a moment to take everything in.

Everyone universally looked excited. People from every game were mingling together, and all having a great time. There was a very high concentration of teams in jerseys, and some very nice people passing out Dr. Pepper. I fell in love with it all immediately. Finally, the doors opened.

Just minutes before the doors opened

Walking into the venue for the first time was very overwhelming, so let me break down what I saw into smaller sections. To my left, there was the Dr Pepper station, where people could play games and get free Dr Pepper. Next to that was the Flipz station, filled only with sexy women and chocolate covered pretzels, and also the Full Sail University station, where you could test our software, charge your phone, or play some of the video games some of the students had created. To my right, there was the MLG store, the Planetside 2 exhibition, Gaming Jerseys, Mad Catz, Benq, Turtle Beach audio, and iBuyPower, all of which showed off brilliant products. And, sitting right in front of me, there were the main stages, which, from left to right, would be showcasing League of Legends, Call of Duty, and Starcraft 2. All of it was great, but you all know where I belong.

The Starcraft 2 Main Stage

Before everything started off, I ran into a few people, including DJ Wheat, JP McDaniel, Incontrol, Marine King, Innovation, and even the god of Broodwar himself: Flash!

                          

               

Getting pictures and autographs from these guys was beyond surreal. All my life, I had looked up to these figures as gods, and here they were: at eye level and most definitely human. After all of that, it was finally time for the games to start. I was ready.

You don't even want to know how many times we had to retake that

To be honest, I didn't pay so much attention to the games. I was there for the games, sure, but the community and the connectedness of it all really is what set it all apart from me watching the stream at home alone. I'm therefore not going to do any analysis of the games here, Day9 and all of the rest of the casters already took care of that. The only will note that the Flash vs Bly game was truly incredible and you should all check it out! Also, check out the cool cheerful that I brought!

We thought it was funny, but there's only so much you can get out of an 11"x17"

After a long first day of meeting several new people, one of which came back with us to our hotel because he would've otherwise just slept in his car, we fell into bed exhausted. We had no idea that the best was yet to come!

Day 2: the first order of the day was cheerfuls. The iBuyPower station had a bunch of free posters set out along with some markers to use, and boy did we use them!! I ended up making two posters that I really stuck with:

      

Armed with our cheerfuls, we made our way out into the crowd and set up for the long haul, because this day would prove to be the longest. Everything passed by pretty much like normal even with this incredibly awesome cheerful



And getting to see a few more players plus an absolutely awesome Day9 meet and greet where I got 2 signatures.

        

But everything only turned truly amazing during the Ret vs Flash game. Since Ret was pretty much the last foreign hope, the crowd went absolutely nuts for this game! People were cheering for absolutely everything and sometimes for no reason at all. Something to note though was all of the booing of Flash that took place. I understand why that happened, and that a small subset of people were very upset to see the foreign hope losing. However, since eSports is such a small community, I could never condone it since we need to stick out for each other, and I'm proud to say that I yelled at the guys who were doing it to stop booing and start cheering. In fact, I yelled and screamed so much that I lost my voice! Oh the sacrifices we make for eSports!

The best part, of course, came right at the very end of the day with the Polt vs Life match. We were only left with the truly dedicated individuals in the crowd, and with Day9 and Husky casting. Fun fact: during these tournaments, Day9 stands up when he casts. Because of the awesome combination of casters and crowd, we just went absolutely apeshit with our cheering. If a drone died, we would stand up and scream. And when the fusion core came along, almost all the crowd started doing the fusion core dance. People were chanting offense and defense like crazy. There were screams, and there were tears. I can't tell you how many times I nearly passed out from lack of oxygen after screaming so loud. It was a moment that I was extremely proud to be a part of. And to top it off, we ended the night by chanting "Thank you casters!!" All I can really say about that is

Note the new Korean signature - that's from Life

Finally, day 3 arrives, and with it the knowledge that there would be no next day. That means that anything that I hadn't done before, I had to do now. So, of course, I go straight to the MLG store and buy 4 different tshirts. Then I make one last cheerful for the day.

The letters were eventually shaded in blue

Planetside 2 was a total blast, and some of the stuff at Full Sail University was pretty sweet too. After visiting every booth, it was finally time to get back to watching. After several amazing games, suddenly, I was approached by Anna Prosser-Robinson to get interviewed. I was, of course, nervous as all hell, but I was pumped and ready to go. Then we started, and I hit a brick wall. Whenever I spoke, my voice would come through the sound system a little later, giving me some mind bending auditory feedback. Now I know how medivacs feel like as this feedback subsequently caused me to drop 90 IQ points and make me appear drunk.

Note the bling

However, as I got more and more used to things, I really started to make things work, getting the crowd to roar, and making some semi-decent analysis. It was at least decent enough that I didn't get crucified on reddit! Speaking of which, here's a link to the reddit article which also has a link to the interview if you really want to see how it really went down:

http://www.reddit.com/r/starcraft/comments/1ah4vd/the_last_interview_that_anna_did_with_that_guy/

Even though it seemed good, I ended up feeling like crap after the interview. But after aimlessly walking around the venue for a bit and three Dr Peppers, I felt much better. At last, we came to those final moments in the tournament, and the final match. Words can't describe how electric that crowd was. Every single person was screaming and cheering the entire night, and we proved as a community that Starcraft is not dead.



Finally, after that last match, a huge group of people stayed behind to say hi to Day9. This is where I got to really see the part of him that everyone loves. He was extremely kind to every single person, and stayed to talk with each person individually (albeit speed-run style), despite the fact that he had a taxi full of people waiting for him so he could go to the after party. That's why we love this guy so much. And when it was my turn and I got to tell him that I was littlebig11, a subscriber to his channel, the look of recognition and happiness on his face was absolutely marvelous. I unfortunately hugged him a bit too hard as a result of this, but overall, getting to see him and meet him was definitely the best part of the weekend. Period. I will never forget it.

Fun fact, we're about the same height

After that we were starved, so after a weekend that we survived by eating Dr Pepper and Chocolate covered pretzels, we went to McDonalds where my drink for the meal was, you guessed it, Dr Pepper. As soon as we got back to the hotel, there was really only one thing left to do: sleep.

Dat ass

And so now here I am the next day, sitting in a train car heading back home, writing this whole thing out to share with you all.


I could try to say so many things to try and describe what this whole trip meant to me. I could talk about the people I met, the memories I made, and the things that I did. But that wouldn't cover even half of how I feel. I could talk about what it feels like to be truly a part of the community, and how this experience wants to make me do more for it, but even that couldn't describe what I'm thinking right now. I guess there's only one thing that I really can say: I will never forget MLG Dallas 2013.