By Neil “Pr0lly” Hammad of Complexity Gaming
Okay it took me entirely too long to figure out how to start the opener to this blog, so this sentence is now that opener. Enjoy!
So, taking this back a week or so around mid-August I was asked if I’d like to help with the analyst desk during the Dig vs TSM quarterfinals best of 5. Honestly, I’d do anything to help Riot out; they’re helping so many players live out their dream, and I feel like I owe a debt to them. After I agreed to come on, I began to think about actually being on the analyst desk. This got me scared as hell.
Ok ok, so the only times I’ve been to the analyst desk is after we had a win in the LCS (wait, that happened lol?), and it’s just a post-win discussion. For me, after we win and I have to go up there, I’m terrified. Not because of cameras or questions, but because I’m not in the mindset to talk. My brain was just in this 80 minute game of really stressful and intense emotions, and now I’m being asked to have a normal level-headed conversation. I’M NOT READY FOR THAT. I’m still pumped with adrenaline, I’m still calculating what happened at pivotal points in the game, and trying to figure out what we need to improve on. So I’m completely mentally exhausted when I’m up there on the desk, and every question that I’m asked just hits me like a blind blitz hook during a level 1 invade. I basically put every emotion and effort possible in that game, and I just have nothing left afterwards.
Now that was my initial reaction to being on the analyst desk the morning of, and to add onto this fabricated pressure I created for myself, I was woken up less than 5 minutes before I had to leave. Turns out my coach, Kubz, asked me the night before when I planned to wake up, and I answered nonchalantly, “Oh I don’t know, I’ll just be up before the shuttle gets here”. To me this meant, “I’ll be up with time to take a shower, and then head out”, to Kubz this meant, “I’m gonna drag you outta bed and you’re ready, right?” So boom, the morning starts off with me doing an immensely effective 2 minute shower and heading off. So. Good. So. Far. I get to the studios, see a few LCS players that I’m still an undercover fanboy of, do hair/makeup, and go to the desk with less than 10 minutes til air.
Right when I started walking backstage it felt like a different place. Normally when I’m heading back there, I still have the game on my mind, and I’m relieved/confused that we just won. This time, I’m just kind of sleepy. So immediately there was a different vibe to this experience. I see dash and Kobe, do my greetings and extend it to the rest of the broadcast crew. The PA guy Joel (super big shout out to him he was awesome!) spent about a good 10 minutes trying to get my seat the correct height because I’m short, I slouch, and naturally sit weird so I was moving around a lot. By the time I was in position, the show was starting and the only direction I had was “don’t say fuck or shit”. But then BOOM we’re live… phew, dodged a bullet, Jeremy (this guy talking in my headset that I was positive had a beard) told me the broadcast decided to go straight to Jatt/Riv instead of starting the show off at the analyst desk and I was able to get more comfortable and watch the game to relax.
Once the games were going on, it was just a completely chill day. I sat next to Kobe and dash talking about the teams, and poking fun at the players when they’d miss CS or miss skills. It was basically just like hanging out with my friends and watching LCS. The game finished and the camera went live. And we just kept talking like we were off-screen lol… It was so completely natural, and there wasn’t any big stigma or pressure, just literally three nerds talking about league. sorry if you readers were expecting some crazy dramatic twist, or like robots invading the studios, but the analyst desk was just pure fun and silliness. Dash was pretty much the conversation starter and gave me a lot of direction on when to speak up or what would be the next point of discussion. Kobe started off kind of tired, and as the plays happened he got more and more amped up and is a pretty stand-up guy. They were both really easy to feed energy off of, and that was really important for me to remain calm and relaxed.
Turns out analyst desk was crazy fun. And to my surprise, they asked me again! So the next week I got to join dash and zirene for two days, and more of the same followed. Just shooting the shit during games, ad-libbing goofy things, trying to do play-by-play for replays (which is really hard lol), and just having fun. Each time the camera went off, I thought how I could improve and do a better job describing my thoughts and analysis next time. I wanted to be better at this desk-talking-gig. However cheesy it is, whatever. All the guys at the analyst desk were a blast, and the broadcast crew was really helpful and friendly, and I just got along with everybody there. So the initially scary experience eventually turned into an experience I’d like to relive more and more. So a shoutout to Dash, Zirene, Kobe, Jeremy, Joel, and a lot of other crew guys that I didn’t catch their names! Thanks a lot for helping a playa, and hopefully I’ll see them again! So this was my blog, hope you guys enjoyed my first time in a long time writing of words. Maybe more to follow? Until then, peaceeee!
Follow Neil on twitter @coL_pr0lly