Basking in the Nostalgic Memories That CS Events Have Given Me
I’m just going to say it.
Counter-Strike being online sucks, big time.
I am thankful that the broadcasts continued during the pandemic, and the organizers have done a great job given the current situation, but there is no replacing the arena environment. Piling thousands of diehard fans into a building for a weekend of Counter-Strike is quality stuff. Each event I’ve attended, I’ve engaged in conversation with strangers about the game we love. The community engagement at an event is fantastic and infinitely outweighs any bad experience you will face online. If you have been to one, you will know exactly what I am talking about: the games are more exciting, the crowd is intoxicating, and having all of your favorite pros and community members in the same environment creates memories. These are the elements that make Counter-Strike more than a video game and lift it as the greatest esport.
Each event I have been to has offered different experiences that I will cherish forever. They shaped me as a fan, gave me the push to start writing, and brought me to Rush B Media. There is no telling when events will return to LAN, but for now, let’s cherish the moments that got us this far.
MLG Columbus (2016): My first attended event and it was a Major. One of the best Majors our game has experienced. The “Everybody Hates Stewie” video was still in its peak popularity, and we were periodically yelling “STEWIE” at strangers as we saw fit. I hollered at someone who ended being the Flipsid3 Tactics CS:GO manager at the time. We ended up chatting and giving him the change he needed to complete his vending machine order. This escalated into a weekend-long friendship that resulted in us meeting the roster, getting invited to the bar that the players were having drinks at, and eventually hitting a Waffle House way too late at night. I shared drinks, took photos, and engaged in quality conversation with current pros. I had an incredible time at my first event. The games were great and even some of them were legendary. Experiencing the games live is memorable, but the memories in-between games are what made that weekend special.
IEM Chicago (2018): This one was big for me. It was Friday morning and my friends and I just made it inside. Of course, we scoured the entire arena to see what was in store for us during the weekend. Our first stop was in the Thunderbolt sponsored section of the room where former pro-James “Hazed” Cobb and Liquid’s coach Eric ‘Adren’ Hoag were beginning their sponsored 1v1 games, and I was the first person to play. I lost to Adren but I won a t-shirt for my troubles. Over the weekend, we engaged in an in-depth conversation about their careers, specifically the Columbus squad that Adren was a part of. By the end of one particular conversation, Hazed made a comment to Adren about “hiring me”. It was a lighthearted joke and I do not know if that was him foreshadowing the coaching move to Liquid, but it felt great. Being told by someone with established experience in the industry, jokingly or not, praising my knowledge of the game after the conversation we had given me the fire I needed. After the event, I went home and worked on my own Top 20 list. It took off, and I officially began my pursuit to become a member of the media.
IEM Chicago (2019): Seven months of hard work came and went. I started on Medium, briefly had a website, and then landed at Rush B Media. My hard work put me on one of the best brands I could hope to join, and I earned an opportunity to work in the media at the United Center. This was huge for many reasons: I worked my first event, I had exclusive access to one of the most legendary sporting arenas in America and I got to see Counter-Strike from a fresh point of view. Not only did I get to experience the games live, but I also got to talk to the players about it. That weekend was everything I could have asked for, and it left me wanting more.
Those are just some of my personal experiences at events. Whether as a fan or as a member of the media, I have experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life. If you have attended an event, share it. Let everyone know what you miss most about CS events like I did. And whenever we do return to the arena, let’s make it the best event we can.