“Dress for the job you want.”
The NA LCS Spring Final was my first time covering an esports event. It also happened to be my debut as a press journalist. As you can imagine, I was a mess of nerves. I thought the best way would be to jump right in by attending Hotline League, an esport show hosted by Travis Gafford and Mark Z., that was live on Friday night in Miami. This was a massive mistake.
I thought it would be a good way for me to come out of my shell.
Instead, I clammed up. Nerves got to me, my phone died and I couldn’t think of a good question. First impressions are everything. I would be associated, from Friday til Sunday, with the quiet wallflower with little social skills.
Saturday, the first day of the finals, didn’t start much better. I was lost with where to get the press badge, and I had no idea what was acceptable for press. So, I huddled myself into the press room for the first half of the day. Desperate to shed the poor first impression, I even started taking detailed game notes…of a 3-0 stomp in Echo Fox vs. Clutch Gaming. They turned out obvious and unanalytical, the kind of notes you could dredge from any LCS stat wiki. Despite this, I began to feel better. People I knew such as fellow members of Proving Grounds arrived, and despite how reclusive and introverted I had been, nobody excluded me or made me feel unwelcome, even when I went to cover the Echo Fox post-game interview. Here I was, sitting next to people like Tyler “FionnOnFire” Erzberger, Travis Gafford and Cass “RequiemGG” Marshall as an equal.
Sunday, the day of grand finals – my most comfortable day. I finally started to get the feel of being press. Nobody really cared that I was doing stuff with the fans and nobody looked down on me for enjoying goofy things like cosplay photos. This extended into doing press interviews and asking questions at the Team Liquid press conference. I was almost there. My only difficulty continued to be socializing with those who were meant to be my peers.
After Liquid crushed the battle for the crown, I accompanied some of my new colleagues to a restaurant. These monolithic figures who had been to countless events and covered numerous topics didn’t once hesitate to include me. All my fears and worries of being out of their league were dashed. Julia, Aaron, Austen and Sharon weren’t just my new peers, they were my new friends.
It has been quite some time since then. My press badge hangs in my room, my fan sign rests in the corner, I’ve been hard at work on this article and I’ve already worn my “Jungle Main” shirt. For those who wish to be journalists and writers: We’re all peers, be it a veteran or a first timer, and you aren’t unwelcome at these events. Friendliness and politeness are key, as the most disingenuous thing is to see the company, not the person. Most of all, you have to be comfortable with who you are.
I won’t forget what chhopsky told me on Saturday I was leaving: “You’re here. You deserve this and you shouldn’t be ashamed to act like it.” Despite what he said, I don’t feel I’ve earned it. The weight of a press badge is a heavy one, and it’s a burden I want to get used to carrying.
If I’m going to dress for the job I want, I’m going to need suit jackets.
Lots of suit jackets.