When I Started To Believe I Could Become Somebody
If you live in Texas you have to go to Austin eventually. I was early into my collegiate career when my friends decided to take the three hour trek from Dallas to Austin. What I took away from the trip was more than just a better understanding of what good food is.
This was when I started to believe I could be somebody.
While Austin is heralded for it’s culture, it also has a hidden gem tucked away. One of the few true arcades left in the US, Arcade UFO is owned and maintained by Ryan Fubarduck Harvey.
For you guys that don’t know who Fubarduck is — he was one of the USA’s finest Third Strike players. He competed in multiple Super Battle Operas (the equivalent of Japan’s EVO) and was one of the players that made the Japanese think America has a chance at actually becoming good at fighting games.
For someone like me — a online warrior, a stream monster, and an avid consumer of everything fighting games — this was a big deal.
I walked into the venue expecting to see Ryan behind the counter, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was disappointed, but I did not show it.
I guess I wished hard enough because 20 minutes into playing games, Ryan shows and I nervously ask for a chance to play him in 3S.
I got destroyed. Annihilated. It was the happiest I had been in a long time.
Without wasting time I try to talk to Fubarduck about the good old days, how things have changed, how the scene is today and what we can do to improve.
We banter and it’s a lot of fun. I’m in disbelief that I could have a conversation with one of the people I held in such high esteem.
I believed that there was a strong separation between the people that I saw on stream in top 8 and the rest of us. That the universe had blessed these few with the talent to compete at the highest level.
I had the opportunity to speak with one of them. I did not want to let this chance go to waste.
So I asked him how he views fighting games. I let on that I believed I would get this long and complex answer from someone that was born with a gift to read, execute and manipulate the tides of battle.
Ryan just looked at me confused and said, “Nothing is slowed down or stands out to me. Anyone can do what I did. They just have to work hard for it.”
Later in the car when my friends asked me how it went meeting one of my heroes, I broke down crying.
They were bewildered at my reaction and quickly took to comforting me as we sped down the highway.
I didn’t speak because I could not articulate the gravity of what that meeting meant to me.
That night we ate at this BBQ restaurant on top of a massive hill overlooking hundreds of acres below and this beautiful sunset in front of me.
I started to believe I could be somebody.
There are no Gods.
There are no kings.
Whats The Point Of This Story?
What's so unique about the FGC is that your first game could be against Justin Wong, Daigo, Zero, Mango, or Armada. Are they inspirational? Yes. Are they incredibly talented? Yes. Are they super human? Absolutely not. They are mortals just like you regardless of their status or history.
Tournament mindset is a skill of its own and needs to be practiced. Every time you sit down to play a set you should treat it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun. You play for you. To better yourself as an individual and evolve as a player and as a person.
If you spend all your time idolizing those at the top, they will never become your peers. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most talented people in the gaming industry because I have this mentality.
Stay hungry my friends and never settle.
Nabil "Nebtune" Pervez is head of social media marketing at Tourney Locator and provides over a decade of fighting game experience to the mic as a commentator. Follow him @NebtuneFGC