As an introverted “non-gamer”, the thought of going to a big convention one year ago – even just as an observer – made me sick to my stomach. Yet here we are now, several local tournaments and one Las Vegas Open later, and I cannot wait to go to all the big tournaments this coming year as well as Las Vegas Open 2024!
Aside from casual games at my local game store, I didn’t really consider myself a gamer. My husband on the other hand has probably played every game known to man at least once. In the spring of 2022, he convinced me to attend a semi-local tournament for MCP. It was actually a pretty easy decision to go since most of the people going were from my local game store. Shortly before the actual tournament, I learned there would be several people there that I had never met. Yes, that was to be expected but I was unable to push that out of my mind until the night before the tournament.
That night, I had a full-blown panic attack. The anxiety of what others would think about someone playing in a tournament who frequently forgot rules, didn’t know every model, and didn’t have a “tactical” mindset sent me spiraling. However, through a lot of encouragement, I found the courage to actually go. You would never guess what- ya girl WON the whole thing!
Winning that tournament was absolutely more gratifying than I ever could have imagined. Though I still think I would been pleased even if I lost that last game. The reason for that is because for that tournament – and every once since then – I set a realistic goal for myself. For that tournament, my goal was to win one single game and of course to have fun. In the tournaments since then, I have accomplished every single realistic goal I have set for myself except for one – which gave me something to reevaluate how I could be a better player.
Fast forward to the Las Vegan Open (LVO) early this year. I played in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) with an A-Force / Inhumans roster. I didn’t expect to even make it into the main event – the Las Vegas Open Invitational Standard (LVOIS) – since there were SO many big names, great players, but that was ok with me because of the goal I had set for myself. That goal was to win one single game with my Inhumans. I would say this goal was actually a bit of a stretch since the Inhumans are pretty bad right now, especially when matched against one of the META affiliations!
My very first game was against one of the best S.H.I.E.L.D. players in the world AND was on Professional Casual Network’s Livestream… talk about feeling the pressure! I didn’t want to look silly so I took the team I was most comfortable with and had the most experience with – my A-Force gals! I ended up losing but I think I held up pretty well, especially since I had never played against S.H.I.E.L.D. before. I was still nervous for my second game so again I brought A-Force. I won that game but I still wasn’t really having fun because I was still in my own head. Game number three, I once again brought A-Force because I thought, “If I actually bring Inhumans I definitely won’t have fun because I will be getting pummeled into the ground.” Well, I lost that game but my opponent was so incredibly fun and relaxed that I actually felt my anxiety disappear. I told myself that I was going to play with my Inhumans for my last two games no matter what – after all, my only goal was to win a single game with Inhumans and that would be a little hard to do if I didn’t actually play with them!
That was definitely a great decision because my last two games were some of the most enjoyable and lighthearted games I’ve ever played! I won my fourth game and therefore accomplished my goal too! No matter what happened the rest of LVO, I could be proud of myself because I accomplished my goal and was finally having fun.
Although I didn’t make it into the LVOIS, I had a blast the rest of the weekend. I was able to cheer on my husband, help out PCN, put faces to names I have heard a million times, meet new people, and really come out of my shell altogether and just relax. Being at LVO made me feel like a part of the MCP community and even gave me a “competitive itch” with my Inhumans roster. I have already played in one tournament so far since LVO and may or may not be already signed up for 4 more tournaments to attend over the next 3 months…
A year ago, I would have laughed at you if you told me I would now enjoy tournaments, not have terrible anxiety, and not care that I don’t know or remember everything about this growing game. But here we are! I truly believe others with gaming anxiety can overcome it if you:
• find a support system to help get you out of your own head
• set a realistic goal – you don’t have to win it all to be proud of yourself
• have fun because everyone around you wants you to have fun too!
I encourage everyone to go to tournaments and big gaming conventions such as LVO if you’re able – you never know what good things may surprise you!
OH YEAH! ONE MORE THING!
Keep an eye out for Ben and I’s new YouTube
“Married Couple Protocol” coming VERY SOON!
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