By: Jeremy Blye
As we are wrapping up this school year and heading into finals, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what has happened. By expressing myself and giving a deeper dive into how this year has affected me, maybe it can help someone else look into themselves.
Before I go into this, here is a quick introduction if you are not familiar with myself. My name is Jeremy Blye, and I am a freshman who has recently joined the Esports Team. I am a criminology major with a minor in psychology. This next fact is a little crazy, but I do dabble in video gaming and the industry that follows it. I know, it’s okay, that one is surprising.
By the way, here is me with my baby, Oliver, if you need more of an idea of who I am :).
Coming into college where we have had such an odd landscape has definitely been a challenge. I think this applies to virtually everyone in the world. COVID-19 has thrown everyone through their own demons and obstacles they have had to overcome. This does not mean that every aspect of this past year has been negative though. Luckily for me, I believe the negative events that have occurred have only helped to strengthen one part of us or another. Obviously, this cannot be the case for virtually every little bit of life. Yet, COVID-19 has definitely helped bring many different communities and people together. If you take a look at our Esports Community, you can see how strong we have been. As a collective, we have kept a community running through a whole change of a platform. This is an amazing feat that I felt was not apparent in many communities. I’ll get into that a little bit later.
Before March of last year, this group functioned basically in a physical landscape. Now, we have only a virtual landscape. Even with these tumultuous changes, (see what I did there…I used the title within what I’m writing…okay I’ll let you continue reading) the Esports group was able to function almost the same. It is hard to create and establish the relationships one gets from being in person, yet these are still happening. Luckily for myself and others within this community, we have been able to make memories and establish friendships that will last for a long time. This is an aspect of this year I think we can all look at and appreciate. Although we had to push through the thick and thin of this crazy year, we did it. Everything will eventually go back to “normal” or whatever you want to consider a new “normal”. That will be fantastic. I’m sure at this point of this post, you are all wondering how this relates to me. I’m being this philosophical and motivating person, yet I have not even introduced how this has affected myself. Well, let’s take a look.
Before enrolling at DePaul, I had no clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go with my life. At this moment, I’m still a kid in a world full of adults. This did not stop me from pursuing what I felt was right. In my case, I feel I made the right decision coming to DePaul. Once the school year started, I was not necessarily involved in much since I did not know what I could be involved in. Fortunately for myself, I found the Esports Community and was able to join in. Every single person I met was and is extremely welcoming and inclusive. This is the amazing part about gaming. No one cares about who you are or what you do. They just care to be welcoming and nice…at least in this community. If we were on Call of Duty, this would be a different story. By participating within the community from the get go, I met some amazing individuals. Within my first two weeks of being a part of this community, I was able to get to know both Tom “PRIME” Zdanowski and Alex “Karmajuney” Rodriguez. These are two people I know everyone knows here, but I am extremely grateful to be able to become friends with them. Now I work with them.
Look where I am now…I’m at DePaul. I know it is kind of crazy. Photo creds to my mom, what a great lady. Back to the blog now.
Even though I was awful at the games I wanted to try-out for, these two were open for me to improve and get better. When I eventually decided to join the Rocket League Team, every single person wanted to see myself succeed. Some ways of pushing me to improve were a little less traditional than others, but it still helped. There’s people like Spencer “Lavish” Ficht, Curtis “Captain Curtle” I have no clue what his last name is, Layne “Mybyke” Norris, and even Carter “Kennedy” McCormick who have been with me every step of the way. I started off as literally the worst player on the team, and now I’m moving up the ranks because of the help I have been given. About 75% of the team has not met me in person and they treated me as one of them.
Here is a little progression sheet from when I started playing competitively in September of 2020 until today. This just shows how much those around me have helped me to succeed.
Not only was I able to establish relationships within this year, this community has allowed me to make some of my closest friends. Alex and Spencer are two people that I can always count on. I may annoy them to no end, yet they’re still along for the ride. I have not even met Spencer, but he is someone who I trust and respect. He is someone that I know will be there for me whenever I need help, someone to talk to, or someone to play games with. As far as Alex, I don’t even know where to start with him. At this point he is like a brother to me. Both of our families are extremely familiar with each other’s endeavors. By taking the opportunity to be on this team, I was able to become this close with him. On top of this, we have our little adventures where Alex shows me different places to eat in the city, I go after Alex for having bad form while running, and Alex comes after me for always having some form of an injury from running. These are just two examples of people who have helped me immensely and I am sure this will continue on within the rest of my college years.
Now that you have gotten a chance to take a deeper dive within myself, I hope each one of you will be able to reflect on the past year and try to take some sort of positive from it. I know some of you will think, “Jeremy there is no way I have had ANYTHING good happen this year”. I know that there has been some form of positive in your lives that has been apparent. I definitely know a thing or two about struggling and having obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. Yet, it can be done. You just have to keep your head up and enjoy the ride that was given.
I hope everyone has a smooth ride through finals and gets to enjoy the summer and the school year that lies ahead. Hopefully, we get the opportunity to be in person and expand what this community is and does.