There is no such thing as Coincidence; Lesson Learned, Maybe?

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It was time for the first match in Group 2! The audience at East China School of Medicine were sitting on the edge of their seats! This was the moment they’d all been waiting for! The high school team, representatives of the Shanghai Esports Association, were finally going to be put in their place!

“I just don’t get it… Why did the Shanghai Esports Association feel the need to add this, this group of kids to the Collegiate Cup? It just brings the level of the entire competition down.”
“Were they bribed or something? You never see girls play competitively…”
“I guess this ‘Team Shanghai’ came just for the lols… Doubt they’re going to take even a single game.”
“Doubt they’re even going to get a single kill!”
“It’s really just silly. No one’s going to be having any fun with this matchup.”
“Serves those cocky kids right for waltzing into this place like it’s theirs!”

The players from Team Shanghai heard the commotion that broke out when they got up and walked towards their soundproof booth. It was the same reaction they kept getting wherever they went. They found it exhausting. Tang Bingyao shook her head, An Xin mumbled a few quiet complaints, and even Lin Feng was clearly fed up with it. They’re talking about us! But we’re not bad… We’re going to crush this uni of science and techno! They’re going to look like idiots… He grinned and said to An Xin, “The audience is really good at being idiots too!”

An Xin looked up at Lin Feng, surprised. Then she giggled and replied, “Here, let me try something.” She puffed her chest forward and did her best imitation of someone in the audience, “For real? Two girls playing? They must be so bad!”

Zhang Hao laughed and joined in with his own imitation of an audience member. “I know, right! Can you believe it? Two girls playing!”

“A high school team at a university level competition? What is the Shanghai Esports Association thinking?” Zeng Rui said.

Lin Feng chuckled, quickly becoming more excited, and said, “Nice one, ZengZeng! OhOhOh! I’ve also got one—”

“Maybe the rumours are true. Their parents bought them a spot in this tournament. Spoiled brats,” Tang Bingyao interrupted, smiling.

The team arrived at the soundproof booth. Zeng Rui pushed open the door and then paused. He turned around to look at the rest of the team and said, “Alright, that’s enough fun. Complete focus when we step in here. Let’s show them how good we are.”

Team Shanghai disappeared in the soundproof booth, but the audience didn’t stop giving their opinions. They kept going on and on about how girls didn’t belong on a team that was trying to compete. And how high schoolers shouldn’t act like they could beat university students. This last bit riled up the other teams competing. They’d kept mostly quiet while Team Shanghai could still hear them, but they now found themselves speaking up louder and louder.

“When those kids get 2-0’d, they go home, right? We won’t have to look at their stupid faces again?”
“Who knows… Maybe their parents will also buy them into the next round…”
“They can’t do that! But boy will it be embarrassing for the Shanghai Esports Association when their team gets knocked out in the first game! Serves them right for pulling this shit! A high school team… Fucking embarrassing!”
“Money talks, my friend. If their parents just throw enough money at the tournament officials, I’m sure they can get a second chance at Regionals.”
“Maybe they’ll buy a spot at the main tournament from one of the teams that make it there.”
“Not gonna lie. I’m kinda looking forward to seeing them getting stomped. That’ll feelsgoodman!”
“Hahaha, yeah! I can’t wait to see that!”

Team Shanghai were seated behind their computers. From left to right, it was Zhang Hao in the top lane, An Xin in the Jungle, Lin Feng in the mid lane, Tang Bingyao as the ad-carry and Zeng Rui as the Support. Their monitors showed the League of Legends client. They were currently waiting in a lobby for the game to move into Champion select.

An Xin looked over the edge of her screen at the audience. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she could guess. “Hey, Tang Tang,” she said, turning to look at Tang Bingyao. “Looks like it’s the same everywhere we go. It’s always the same, ‘girls can’t play League’ crap. I really want to make sure they don’t say that again for the rest of this tournament. That’d be nice, right?”

“Mhm!” Tang Bingyao nodded. She looked back at An Xin and replied, “We’ll prove them wrong.”

An Xin smiled at Tang Bingyao. That’s the spirit! Then she turned back to look at the audience. Her smile remained but the expression around it changed. Her eyes narrowed and she scrunched her nose a bit. It was her trademark murder-smile. “Good. I dare them to ever look down on us again! We’re going to make them see how good we are!”

The game moved to Champion Select. An Xin took the reins, telling the team which strategy they were going for and instructing the individual players on the team which Champions they were to play. She then explained her vision for the early game, to which Zeng Rui nodded. He was in charge of the game itself. And he knew exactly what she wanted to see. During their conversation about the game plan, the client opened up the loading screen. Everyone could see the lineup for Game 1 in the best of three series between Team Shanghai and East China University of Science and Technology.

Game 1
Team Shanghai (Blue) versus East China University of Science and Technology (Red)

Top lane: Gragas versus Fiora
Jungle: Jarvan IV versus Kha’Zix
Mid lane: Lux versus Syndra
AD-carry: Graves versus Jinx
Support: Thresh versus Alistar

The players from East China University of Science and Technology sat in the soundproof booth that was right next to Team Shanghai’s. Zhu Feng was their team captain and Midlaner. He sat behind the middle computer, switching between looking at his monitor and glancing at his teammates. “We have a strange start to this game, guys,” he finally said. “They’re the representatives from the Shanghai Esports Association. And the rumours suggest they might be good. But… It’s really hard to believe that when you see their lineup.” He took a long, deep breath before continuing, “We can’t let that line of thought get to us! It doesn’t matter how bad we think they might be. They’re here because they have skill! That’s what we have to believe! So we have to focus on this game!”

Zhu Feng hit the right note. His teammates turned to him, all of them confused. The Jungler was the first to talk. He said, “You gotta be kidding me! Focus? They’re a bunch of high schoolers! How good can they possibly be?”

“Right! There’s no way we’re losing to them,” the Support chimed in. He then turned to his ad-carry and asked, “Yo, Wang He, whaddya think?”

But Wang He wasn’t listening to his teammates. His gaze was focused on the loading screen. I thought I recognized her, but I brushed it off… Shit! How is this even possible? He gritted his teeth in shock and disbelief. That’s her! It’s that girl! I played against her the other day on stream… Her Draven… How is this even possible? This can’t be a coincidence! It’s stupid!

“Wang He! Wang He! Yo, bud! Tell us. Whaddya think?” the Support asked again.

Wang He turned to look at his teammates and said, “Uh, oh, uh, we should focus bot lane. Camp it please. We just need to shut down their bot lane! Yeah! Shut down their bot lane! That’s how we’ll win this quickly! Camp bot lane!”

“Uuuuh, huh?” the Jungler replied, confused. Wang He never asks for help… He complains when he gets help… What’s wrong with him? He glanced at Wang He, searching for an answer. Why does he look so pale? Is he sick or something? What’s going… Eh, whatever. He shrugged and said, “Sure, I’ll come around bot for a gank or two.”

Wang He exhaled the breath he’d been holding. He chewed on the inside of his cheek and stared at his monitor, scenes from a few days ago playing in front of his eyes again. She got lucky then! Not again! I’ll fucking stomp on her stupid fucking Graves! He grinned and mumbled so quietly that only he could hear it, “Alright, little girl. Let’s see what you can do when I try a little.” He chuckled loud enough for his teammates to give him a couple of strange glances. But he ignored them. His eyes were on the Summoner ID below the Graves. You’re probably their starplayer too. The ad-carry. A strong girl. Sure, sure. Makes sense why the Shanghai Esports Association would build a team around you. Too bad I’m going to kick your ugly ass out of here!

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!

The game started without much fanfare. Both teams went with a normal start to the laning phase and waited for the first minion waves at their outer towers. And even after the first real exchanges, things remained passive for the most part. Zhang Hao and his lane opponent were focused on last hitting minions, seemingly oblivious to each other’s existence. Over in the bot lane, Wang He was scared of Tang Bingyao’s Graves. He played the lane very defensively, giving up last hits just for some more safety, and waited for his Jungler Kha’Zix to come down to the bot lane for a gank.

The only lane with any kind of action was the mid lane. Lin Feng was playing Lux against Zhu Feng’s Syndra. If both players were roughly equal in terms of skill, this was a very fair matchup. But Lin Feng was the far better player. He had a way of positioning himself at just the right angles to land both poke damage on the Syndra while also keeping a perfect creep score.

Zhu Feng was getting more and more annoyed by the second. How is this Lux controlling the wave so perfectly? She’s pushing me away without even doing anything! I don’t get it! What in the world is happening!? He was forced to move his Syndra back again to dodge an anomaly of twisted light that was flying towards him. Her Lucent Singularity’s keep hitting me! And never the minions… How the hell is he freezing the minion wave here? Shitting shit! And I can’t afford to get hit by it either. That just proc’s her passive skill and makes her next auto attack against me deal more damage!

“Take this!” Zhu Feng suddenly exclaimed. He slammed down on his Q key. Syndra moved forward a bit and then conjured a Dark Sphere underneath the Lux. The dark magic exploded on creation and dealt splash magic damage. Zhu Feng’s expression dropped. He exclaimed, “How the fucking dammit did she dodge that!”

The Syndra’s attack had looked flawless. Lux was moving to last hit a minion, while Zhu Feng ignored a minion to land some poke damage with Dark Sphere. But not only did Lux get the killing blow on the minion, she also sidestepped the Dark Sphere and then fired an anomaly of twisted light at the Syndra! It exploded, slowing and damaging the Syndra.

Zhu Feng watched his Syndra drop below half health, incredulous. “How am I the one pushing the minion wave?” he mumbled. I can’t even get near the minions anymore! He’s frozen the wave right outside of his tower! If I move up there, they can just gank me… And if I sit back here, I’m missing out on gold and experience! Either way, I’m fucked! Screw it, I’m just going to go back to base and get some extra health potions. I just have to play it a bit more aggressively when I get back to force her to go back to base as well!

Zhu Feng retreated back to behind his outer tower and then pressed down on the B key. A blue light flared around his Syndra as she started channeling the recall skill. It took a couple of seconds, but then she appeared in the fountain at the heart of Red Team’s Base. Right then, An Xin’s Jarvan IV appeared in the mid lane and helped Lin Feng’s Lux to clear the minion wave and push it into the Red Team’s outer tower.

What the fuck? I just… I… Zhu Feng felt numb. I lost so many minions there… All that experience and gold… It’s gone. Gone! He shook his head in disbelief. Why didn’t I bring Teleport? Shit! I need to get back to lane and kill him! We need to get a kill on him, or I’m just going to fall behind. He chewed on his lips for a moment, then said over the team’s voice chat, “Hu Hui, if you see a chance, come and gank mid with your Kha’Zix.”

Sietse Tells a Story!

Sietse Thought: My mom always told me when I did what someone asked of me without thinking about it if I would also jump from a bridge if they asked me to. Little dipshit me obviously said yes, because I wouldn’t agree with my mom. She was stupid and wrong! And really, the only bridges I knew were the three that went over the canal in which we swam all the time. Whenever the weather gets good here, people jump from those bridges and dive into the water. So I never got what was so bad about doing that. Turns out she was trying to teach me a life lesson.

Don’t blindly follow people. Think for yourself. And that whole spiel. I can still remember her haunted expression when I disagreed with her. In her mind, I was jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge to my death or something extreme like that, while in my mind I was just jumping from five meters high into the water for a nice and refreshing swim. But guys, let’s face it. My mom was wrong. Even if it was about jumping off a higher bridge. Thinking is hard and it isn’t fun. Your head hurts and when has thinking ever made you happier? Being stupid is so much easier.

You stop in front of a red light. And rather than picturing the millions of ways you crossing the street could play out, you just wink at the pretty girl standing next to you and wait for the light to turn to green. No thoughts, just enjoying the nice weather and a good chat with whatever random person will have a quick laugh with you. Which reminds me of this time I sat in the bus.

We were with three people in that bus. This cute girl, a crazy lady, and me. I was chilling to some music, watching the scenery outside and not thinking. The cute girl was doing the same (of course I double checked to make sure she was cute… And don’t even pretend any of you wouldn’t have done the same!). The bus driver stops at the next bus stop and the crazy lady walks up to check out (we use cards to check in and out of public transit). She holds her card to the box and it beeps twice (checked out). Then she looks at it and holds her card in front of it again. A green light pops up and there is one loud beep. She checked back in.

Now, I heard the beeps over my music, so I glanced over humming to my music. This crazy lady is looking around all confused, trying to think. I almost wanted to tell her that maybe thinking wasn’t really a skill she was cut out for and that she should hire someone to do that for her. But I kept my wiseass mouth shut. The bus driver didn’t. He tells her that she should check out. Two beeps! She holds her card in front of the box again, but this time moves it away too fast. The box didn’t read it and beeps to let her know it failed.

This crazy lady, who I’m assuming had at least 5 cats at home, was starting to get progressively annoyed. I’m pretty sure this annoyance had a lot to do with her lack of brains. I’d also be mad if I couldn’t muster the brain power to figure out a very simple:

  • One beep + green light = check in;
  • Two beeps + red light = check out.

So I glanced over at the cute girl and she looked back at me and we shared a moment where our minds became one. We didn’t need to talk. We just grinned and tried very hard not to laugh out loud. But that became progressively more difficult as this crazy lady somehow didn’t understand something so stupidly easy. She was now putting her card in front of the reader and she checked herself out again. We were both staring at her, waiting for her to step out of the bus.

NOPE! This crazy lady wasn’t satisfied. Her absolute lack of common sense made me curious how she got herself dressed in the morning. Or how she didn’t choke on her food because she forgot how to chew. I’m honestly still confused about that one. How do these people function? It doesn’t make sense to me. But thinking about that would require energy I’m not willing to put into that. So I’ll remain blissfully ignorant!

Anyway, the busdriver was getting really frustrated with her and told her to please check out and leave. So this lady checks out. Everything was good. And then. Just as we thought a flash of insight had helped her understand that she was checked out, she checked back in. That broke me. I just started laughing at her. And the girl a couple rows up on the other side of the bus took that as her cue to also start laughing.

This crazy lady looked around at us and didn’t know half how fast she had to get out of the bus, still bloody checked in! Which was honestly a blessing in disguise, guys. Because you see that gave me a great opening to chat this girl up. We had a fun couple of dates all built on our shared amusement at the absolute incredibly dumb bitch who couldn’t figure out that two beeps + red light equaled CHECKED OUT!

P.S. Some people deserve to be laughed at. Make sure to laugh at them. And make sure they know you’re laughing at them. Maybe that’ll help them. And if it doesn’t, at least you had some fun!

Shanks Thought: Man, I know Sietse’s story is supposed to be funny, but I can’t help but sympathize with the ‘crazy lady.’ I can easily imagine it being one of my aunts taking public transit for the first time, and it breaks my heart. Or… maybe I’m over-analyzing things and being too judgemental of Sietse for passing judgement too quickly on a poor lady that needed help. Honestly, I doubt it. At no point in the story did anyone bother to explain or try to help this obviously confused woman out. Instead, everyone in the story was getting a) frustrated with her for wasting their time, or b) laughing at her for not understanding ‘common sense’. 

Interestingly enough, I noticed this trend when I was visiting Europe myself. As a Canadian, I found the people strangely cold when you ask very basic questions that are very obvious to a native but might be a little confusing to a foreigner. For instance, I was in the Netherlands, and I’d been able to navigate public transit fairly well so far with my Google-Fu. But there’ll always be some information that’s poorly documented or only presented in a foreign language. So, it can’t be helped that you have to ask questions. I was taking a bus for the first time in The Hague. I asked some simple questions that I wanted to confirm like, “Am I on the right bus?”, “Is this how I pay and check in/check out?”, etc. Mind you. The bus was practically empty at the time, and I was literally the only person who got in on that stop, but the driver was pretty curt with me and gave me a strange look, as if I were wasting his time asking obvious questions.

Now, imagine you’re a woman in your 40s in a foreign country you’ve just moved to. You hardly speak the language. You need to get somewhere. And you’ve decided to brave the journey alone. You’ve figured out that the public transit system in your city requires a card, but you still don’t know exactly how it works. You see other people pressing the cards onto a machine when they get on. So, you follow suit. It works, and you’ve successfully boarded the bus. But eventually, you arrive at your destination and you need to get off. You think it’s as easy as just leaving the bus, but the driver stops you and tells you something. You don’t quite understand, but you can deduce that he wants you to do something, and it probably has to do with the machine you tapped your card on earlier.

So, you take out your card and tap it on the machine again. It beeps twice and shows a red light. Oh no. Red light means bad, right? Did I do something wrong? So, you panic and tap your card onto the machine again. This time, it beeps once and shows a green light. You’re relieved and think it works, but the driver makes an odd expression and you notice the gazes from the surrounding passengers. So you panic again and tap your card once more. Two beeps. Red light.  You think you broke the machine. So you tap your card again. By this point, you feel the gazes prickling on your skin, and the frustration on the bus driver’s face. You’re stumped on what to do.Tthen this fucking chad next to you bursts out laughing, and the and the young woman next to him does too. Feeling absolutely humiliated and ashamed, you do what you can only do in that situation. You escape. And that’s the first impression of the new city you’re now going to call home.

Just thought, I’d put some different perspective on Sietse’s story.

Sietse Conclusion: She was Dutch. She should’ve known. And we were rightfully judgmental. Dumb bitch.

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