For fans of the Overwatch League (OWL), KitKat Rivalry Weekend (KKRW) represented the final games of the regular season. It was the last stop before playoffs, featuring some of the greatest rivalries that had developed over the past two seasons, such as the San Francisco Shock vs. the Vancouver Titans, the Hangzhou Spark vs. the Shanghai Dragons, and of course, one of the original and fiercest rivalries in OWL, the LA Gladiators vs. the LA Valiant, which is better known as the Battle of LA. The weekend was a last hurrah to cap off a season full of new teams and new faces, the birth and death of GOATS, and the meteoric rise and fall of analyst Brennon Hook in his quest to lose 1v1 duels to every OWL pro, beginning with London Spitfire’s Gesture.
Last summer, the Overwatch League (OWL) finished its inaugural season and crowned the London Spitfire as its first champions. My favorite team, the Los Angeles Valiant, fell to the Spitfire in the semi-finals but still had an incredible first season. They were Stage 4 Champions, Pacific Division Champions, and finished second overall in the league behind the New York Excelsior. During the off-season, when the official OWL streams ended and teams went on break, I realized how much I missed seeing the Valiant play on stage. Off-season events like the California Cup co-hosted with the San Francisco Shock helped fans from both teams deal with the lull, and individual players streaming on Twitch helped to bridge the gap, too. As Season 2 approached, there was a palpable feeling of excitement among OWL fans, me included. I was so hyped to see the Valiant back in action. Having been a fan since the roster reveal, I’ve witnessed some rough patches. Stage 2 was not a particularly good time for us, but the team fought back after making some big trades and coaching changes. They ended Season 1 strongly.
Expectations were high for Season 2, and then… the Valiant hit the roughest patch in the team’s young history. They went 0-7 in Stage 1. There were lots of memes and mean-spirited comments being tossed around. I did my best to send positive tweets to the players and help uplift fellow fans. Little things, really, but maybe it helped someway, somehow. During this stage, I came to the realization that my loyalty to this team would remain steadfast, no matter what happened. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why. How did this happen? I’ve never felt this way about any other teams I’ve been a fan of: the LA Lakers, the 1990’s Chicago Bulls, even my alma mater, the UCLA Bruins. And yet, here I was, feeling every one of those 7 defeats like a sucker punch to the soul. So again, I asked, why? What makes the Valiant so special?
My favorite time of the year is fall/winter because so many holidays come rushing forth: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s a time to be reflective and thankful for the good things in our lives. It’s an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, both friends and family, that we may not always get to see throughout the year. And if you’re someone experiencing a strong case of wanderlust, it’s also a chance to travel the world and see something new. The day after Christmas, with carols still ringing in our ears and visions of sugar plum fairies still dancing in our minds, my family and I caught a non-stop flight to London. Thankfully, Her Majesty was forewarned, and there were no diplomatic incidents when we arrived (that we know of, anyway). (more…)
For the first time since I began this blog, I failed to make a monthly post. December was such a busy month for me — the holidays, preparing for a trip to Europe, wrapping things up at work — that my usual blog post fell close to the bottom of priorities. I actually stressed out about it. Writing is always on my mind, and the thought that I’d miss a monthly blog post gnawed at my conscience. But if 2018 taught me anything, it’s that self-care is important and that failures, both large and small, shouldn’t be a source of stress. Rather, they should be sources of determination, and I’m determined to make 2019 a more fruitful year than the last one. (more…)
My writing process is best described as “scattered.” I don’t always follow one tried and true formula. Rather, I tend to let the story dictate my approach. If I know the ending, then I’ll write toward that goal. If I know how the story starts but not how it ends, then I need to explore the different directions it could travel before determining the perfect path to a satisfying ending. As you can probably guess, I’m mostly a “pantser.” I love writing without plot points and seeing what happens. I lose more words this way during edits, but I enjoy the freedom to discover unexpected gems. Don’t get me wrong; I do use plot points on rare occasions when working on longer stories. Even then, I don’t have every detail laid out before me. I leave just enough wiggle room to let myself color outside the lines if the situation calls for it. While I tend to be all over the place when I write, I have noticed one aspect that stays consistent: I always begin the process with one core idea. I think that’s true for all writers. Every story grows from a single idea, concept, or premise. But where do they come from?