Oh, that’s what they meant

Impetus: after the Atlanta Hawks were unceremoniously swept out of the NBA Playoffs, the Hawks organization published this statement that tried to accentuate the good of the season, right after the biggest of bads just occurred.  The tagline of the entire statement was that the Hawks finished the year “True to Atlanta.”

Honestly, I don’t blame any Hawks fans for wanting to read this gigantic wall of text, but basically it’s a written list of all the good things that happened to the Hawks throughout the course of the 14-15 NBA season.  Including things like their franchise best 60-win season, the first time ever to the Eastern Conference Finals, and being one step away from contending for the NBA championship.

Ultimately, it’s no different than any other team-mandated post-season letter thanking the fans and investors (but mostly investors) for their support, but what I think that makes this worse than any other letter sent by any other organization is their choice of tagline, and the unintentional irony behind it.

True to Atlanta

Let’s be real here, I like living here, but the fact of the matter is that when it comes to sports of all forms, Atlanta, as well as the state of Georgia itself, are notorious for falling short.  It’s often debatable between which is worse between not contending at all, and contending and falling short, but the truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, Atlanta just isn’t the home to any champions.

Whether it’s the Braves’ inability to succeed in spite of repeated consecutive chances in the playoffs, the Falcons’ inability to get to the Super Bowl much less consecutive playoffs, Georgia Tech’s inability to knock off a reeling Florida State, and then Georgia’s inability to beat the lesser-heralded Georgia Tech, there’s a lot of failure associated with sporting teams within Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

The Hawks constantly using the phrase “True to Atlanta” at first blush made me immediately think that it was in reference to the fact that the Hawks get to join the club of Atlanta sports franchises that came close, but fell short, at championship aspirations.

It’s not wrong at all, but their choice of words adds a lot of unintentional irony that wouldn’t be the case if they had a different tagline, or simply no tagline at all.

Why people say they hate League of Legends

The following graphic is my last six games.  You might notice that they are mostly defeats.  You might also notice that they are also Summoner’s Rift games.  I do not play a lot of Summoner’s Rift games these days; I typically play a lot of All-Random-All-Mid (ARAM) games with my girlfriend, because they’re quicker, and the random player select for all participants absolves all players of such nagging details like responsibility and skill, and sometimes they’re tremendously fun when you and/or other players get to play a little mad scientist with how to build out a character for varying results.

Summoner’s Rift games are typically way longer, and play to what’s known as a “meta,” basically meaning a traditionally accepted form in which the game should be played, with specific positions, roles, and styles that is expected of those players designated to each role.  Personally, I feel that playing games to a style because that’s what’s expected is kind of stale, boring, and tedious.

Summoner’s Rift games are also what is played on the professional level, so the alleged millions and millions of League of Legends’ player base are playing the exact same game that kids all around the globe are paid serious money to do so.

The following graphic is a reminder of why I really don’t care to play Summoner’s Rift games, and play way more ARAM.

It’s not the defeats that bother me; nobody plays LoL and expects to win every single game.  Everyone who plays has lost hundreds and hundreds of times, it’s just that I’m fortunate to be able to say that I’ve won more than I’ve lost, although both numbers are well into numerous hundreds.  But it’s how the defeats that happen, that really make me think about how awful the game really is capable of being, and why I am not thrilled about playing a game where teamwork becomes impossible, and it turns into the bathroom’s armpit of shit before the inevitable defeat happens.

In every one of these six games, the end result was basically because someone on the losing team imploded, and then the rest of the team fell apart, because only in very, very rare cases, can a short-handed team defeat a full team of five, regardless of skill level, and most times the shorthanded team will inevitably lose.

But in every single one of these games, a player(s) on the losing team became unhappy with the play of themselves, which naturally turns into dismay for their teammates’ play, and then the frustration turns into words, and then words become a firing squad, and then a loss occurs.  Sometimes, the discontented players deliberately let themselves die to the enemy team (intentional “feeding”), and sometimes they just give up, and either quit the game, or just simply stop playing, content to have their character sit at base, while they banter back and forth with whomever will listen to them.

Every one of these games had one of these toxic players in it.  Even the one game that I did manage to pull a victory out of, my team had a player that decided that they didn’t agree with a decision I made in the game, and decided to begin cussing me out.  Naturally, I put them on mute, because I think it’s counterproductive to even try and reason with that kind of trash, but we still won the game, I turned in my report for them, and we were on our merry way.

It’s the last game that boiled me over that caused this post to take shape, because it was a game that we were most definitely in, but they had decided that one enemy member had grown too “tanky” (physically resilient with a ton of hit points), and that we were done for, and that we should throw in the towel.  Naturally, their teammates disagreed, and refused to surrender the game, but because they decided that one opponent was too tanky, the game was over.  We even tried to plead and stroke their ego, and tell them that they were doing great, and that we needed them, but to no avail.  The 5 versus 4 eventually became too much, and we lost.

The bottom line is, when people say they hate League of Legends, I’d be a wagering man and say that probably 95% of those times, they’re really wanting to say that they hate League of Legends’ player base.  The player base of the game is full of the most narcissistic, self-important, entitled, unable to take accountability, trolls on the face of the planet.  On the face of the planet.  With a game that boasts player numbers in the millions, that isn’t a far stretch from the truth.  Combined with the anonymity of not having to face your fellow players, people become absolutely insufferably miserable.

It’s not often that I will voice my displeasure to other players in game, but prior to the loss, I told this white-flag bearing player on our team, that their willingness to give up on a completely winnable game was akin to that if they ever contracted herpes, they may as well jump off a cliff and kill themselves, because “it’s over.”

I really would like to get back into playing Summoner’s Rift, because I genuinely do like the game, but it’s times like this, where I get paired up with miserable fucks over and over again that really makes me reconsider wanting to play the game outright sometimes.

For a game that boasts as much success on a global level as League of Legends does, they should really take a page out of World of Warcraft’s book, and basically start boasting when their player ban numbers start reaching into the tens of thousands, because as far as League of Legends is concerned, if they have a billion registered users, the number of people who should probably be banned for detrimental conduct should be easily within the millions.

The game is good, but the people playing the game, most certainly are not always.  Often times, they’re the polar opposite of anything positive.

My, how times change in the sporting world

I’m contemplating making a day trip up to Cleveland, Ohio, so I can knock off one more ballpark on my ongoing quest for all 30 Major League Baseball parks, but it dawned on me that there was some room for concern.  Currently, the NBA is in the midst of their playoffs, and as it stands the Atlanta Hawks are playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The jury is still out, but this could pose some complications for someone like me, hoping to be able to hop on flights to and from Cleveland from Atlanta.

But then I saw that the series currently sits at 3-0 in a best of seven, in favor of the Cavs, with game 4 tonight, so there’s a good chance that the Hawks will continue their outstanding tradition of choking, as well as the Atlanta tradition of falling short of a championship, regardless of sport.

However, that’s not what really prompted me to write today.  It’s what’s happening in the Western conference that caught my eye, and made me think, “hmm, really??

The Golden State Warriors are a win away from the NBA Finals, and as the team with the best record in the NBA outright, stands a good chance of going all the way.

For a championship.

And this is where I show my age a little bit and reminisce about how this is somewhat interesting to me, because in the time in which I did follow the NBA and loved basketball above all other sports, this is basically what I recall of the Golden State Warriors:

Wins Losses W/L%
2002 21 61 .256
2001 17 65 .207
2000 19 63 .232
1999* 21 29 .420
1998 19 63 .232

*Strike-shortened season

Basically, the Warriors were the laughing stock of the NBA.  Asking an NBA fan how many teams there were in California, would usually prompt the answer of “three,” because everyone knows the two Los Angeles teams, and some people often said “Oh yeah, the Sacramento Kings,” but most everyone forgot about the Golden State Warriors.  Sure, being named after the state’s nickname, and not necessarily Oakland, where they’re actually located didn’t help with that, but the fact of the matter is that people often times don’t remember the team that was so lousy and terrible.

It didn’t matter that the Warriors had some really good talent back in those ages, like Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway and Chris Webber, they just weren’t ever any good.  Whether it be injuries, a sheer inability to function as a cohesive unit, or just players underperforming, the Warriors were simply no good.  They had more notoriety when Latrell Sprewell choked their own coach in 1997, but then lost all of it, when they won just 19 games out of 82 played.

And that’s the thing, the Warriors were so bad in this era of basketball, that .200s basketball was the norm.  Imagine that kind of futility?  A literal 20% chance to see a win if you’re a Warriors fan.  A literal 80% chance to see a win if you’re a fan of the team playing against the Warriors.  The humiliation that you’d feel if you privy to see a rare defeat at the hands of the Warriors, and the jubilation of seeing a rare Warriors win, if a Golden State fan.

Out of 41 home games, the team literally had a chance to win like, eight of them.  Imagine being a season ticket holder, and like every single game that was attended ended up as a loss?  That’s the kind of shit that happens where you throw yourself off the Golden Gate Bridge, or at least stop liking sports outright.

Back to present day though, the Golden State Warriors are far from those pathetic cries of the past.  They’re on the doorstep of the NBA Finals, and even though the Cavaliers have LeBron James out to prove his legacy, the Warriors are far and beyond the superior team, and should for the most part win the championship.

But my, how the times have changed in the NBA, where the Golden State Warriors are championship contenders, when they used to be a team where they only contention they had was getting that #1 draft pick every summer.  Funny how things turn out on long enough of timelines.

Is it really that important to always know what’s “trending?”

Since I’m such a man of the times, I’m currently on book five of Game of Thrones: Song of Ice and Fire.  Unlike a lot of epic literary series, I’ve actually enjoyed GoT in written form a great deal, and I look forward to completing book five, and subsequently be like all other GoT novella fans, and (im)patiently await the sixth.

On that note, it goes without saying that I am very much behind in the television series, as it moves at light speed on screen in comparison to the pace of the novels.  I’ve just finished watching the second season of the show, and upon hearing news not too far ago about how things in season five of the television series will spoil plot points for what lies ahead in the not-yet-released book six, I can say that I will probably not watch any of season five, if I can help it.

Yes, I am one of those snobs, who always plays the game of comparisons between book and screen.  This should not be one iota of surprise to anyone.

However, it’s no secret that whatever is on screen typically wins the favor of the masses over the same story’s written form.  It’s no surprise, we’re mostly a visual society, and pretty pictures and named-actors are vastly more efficient at portraying stories than a bunch of boring old words.

So despite the fact that I’m going all old testament as far as my indulgence of Game of Thrones is concerned, millions of other people are alternatively getting (mostly) the same indulgence by simply tuning into HBO and watching the story, chopped down to consolidated hours at a time.

And when you have a million people watching the same thing, there will always, always be at least a thousand of them, ready, and god forbid willing, to bitch about it on the internet.  And when enough people bitch about a similar topic, that topic is then deemed as “trending,” and when something starts trending, it becomes worthy enough to be forced upon everyone’s Facebook pages, whether they want to see it or not.

Unfortunately for me, anything that pertains to GoT is something I do not want to see, as I am paranoid of being spoiled.  Unfortunately for me, as long as a topic is trending, it’s beyond anyone’s control that I have to see it anyway.

Spoilers ahead. Read more »

I hate the world we live in

When we’re kids, we’re often told that it’s best to talk things out, with another person, whenever there’s any sort of grievance.  That violence solves nothing, and that good communication will triumph over any sort of need for fisticuffs.

However, when we become adults, such basic concepts cease to exist, and grownups are more apt to employ every single form of tactic that remove themselves from the visible part of the equation as possible, and to utilize every trick in the book in order to get the job done without making themselves public.

Personally, I’ve always been of the persuasion that it’s still possible to talk things through with other people, and yes although it might be uncomfortable to confront concerns and grievances face-to-face, I still believe that resolution is more easily achieved in such a manner, and at least everything is on the table and out in the open.

Clearly, I am a very naïve person to believe that everyone would be willing to play by the same rules that I like to think I do, especially when there are easier (read: spineless) ones abundant and available.

It sucks that the world we live in is a world where war can be waged against us as individuals without us as individuals even knowing it’s happening.  And this is somehow okay.

The worst part is that even if you knew who was waging war against you, it’s not like anything could be done about it.  We live in a pussified society where confronting someone is automatically interpreted as harassment, and beating the shit out of a person, regardless of the fact that they deserve it, is automatically considered assault, and the victim of a shadow war is the only one not allowed to defend themselves in any way shape or form.

The world we live in absolutely sucks, and I hate it.  There is almost nothing redeeming about it, and it unfortunately doesn’t show any indication that it’s ever going to get any better.