What's Your Line?

Marcus "djWHEAT" Graham

Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, pro-gaming play-by-play commentator

Weaving a human story from the threads of an online deathmatch.

By John Teti • April 5, 2012

We often use vague catchall words to describe careers in gaming: developer, designer, producer. But the talents and pursuits of the games industry are far more diverse than the clumsy terminology might lead you to believe. What’s Your Line? is an interview series designed to demystify the people who make their living in games.

Professional gaming competitions—also known as e-sports—are big business, or so I’m told. The industry’s public-relations reps insist that with attendance growing, social networks spreading awareness online, and big corporate sponsors showing interest, the e-sports scene is at a tipping point—ready to transform from a niche concern to a mainstream phenomenon. Of course they say that. And it may prove true. The thing about a tipping point is that it’s hard to see it until after the tip. If you were watching this broadcast of the Super Bowl in 1978, would you have predicted that the NFL championship would one day become a de facto national holiday?

E-sports faces major challenges, though, like fragmentation across a handful of leagues and the general public’s relative unfamiliarity with the rules. The games played by the pros range from twitchy first-person shooters like Halo to intense, complex real-time strategy games like StarCraft II. But if e-sports does break through, there’s a good chance that Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham will be part of the surge. He has been broadcasting live from gaming competitions for 13 years and has become one of the field’s most venerated voices. He took a break from a recent gig to speak to The Gameological Society about his start, his storytelling approach, and an online community that’s more welcoming that you might imagine.

The Gameological Society: What’s the career path to becoming a video game play-by-play commentator? Were you always the guy watching over your buddy’s shoulder, commentating on the action?

Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham: Actually, I was a player first. Growing up, I would say probably late high school to my early college years is where a lot of my PC gaming took form. I was playing a lot with friends, and of course with the dawn of the internet, we could play with people from other universities.

I traveled around the United States with [a pro gaming] team, just trying to win competitions and having a good time. It was actually around that time when I was sitting there reflecting on life and going, “Hey, it’s probably a good idea that I grow up a little bit. And I need to get a job.” I just didn’t want to give up gaming. I was doing a lot of coaching at the time, and I just stumbled upon commentary when I would record audio files of myself speaking to the team, explaining to them what I did and didn’t like about their play. One of my own teammates came to me and said, “Hey, you know, Marcus, I think you should try to do this live. Maybe there’s something there.”

So we tried it. Eight people enjoyed the hell out of it. Of course, eight people doesn’t really turn it into a career path, but I just kept doing it and I just loved doing it. After doing that for two years, just out of sheer love for the game, that’s when I started getting invited to places like China and Korea to commentate at major competitions. I was just so stubborn that I didn’t want to give up easily. 

Gameological: Who is your audience? Are you talking to people who are already hardcore fans of the games, or are you trying to make the events on screen accessible for a broader audience?

djWHEAT: There’s a very, very important mixture that has to happen, because for years, my audience has been the very dedicated and hardcore individuals who are very much aware of what’s going on. But of course it is very important for me that all of our content is accessible to new people.

We don’t have the luxury of having someone in our ear, or a giant database of stats.

You’re going to hear me say this a lot—and I’m a big, big advocate for this in the professional gaming world—and that is education. And when I say “education,” I mean it is important for me as a commentator to not assume that every single person who’s tuned in knows what’s going on or knows the name of every unit. Even though a more hardcore crowd may not particularly like that style of commentary, it’s very inviting to anyone who wants to sit down and go, “Oh, this is something I’ve never seen before.”

Also, it’s a lot of storytelling. We get the ability to say, “This person has a rivalry with this person, and the last three times they’ve met, they haven’t been able to reconcile.” Instantly, whether you know something about the game or not, you can create these sort of human-interest rivalries and stories behind it all.

Gameological: I picture a sportscaster watching film and doing research on the players’ backstories. What’s your prep-work for a match look like?

djWHEAT: Pretty much the same thing. We watch players’ styles. Some players are very aggressive; some players are very defensive. Some players like to be a little bit more unorthodox and show off. You learn all of these things. We don’t have the luxury of having someone in our ear, or a giant database of stats, so a lot of this is stuff that we have to collect on our own. For me, my biggest and best stats database is the one in my head. I’ve been casting now for going on 13 years, and I have the added benefit—because I have been involved in gaming for so long—that I can tell you that in 2002, the World Cyber Games Counter-Strike champion was M19 from Russia.

Gameological: How big of a phenomenon is it right now?

djWHEAT: Right now, I’m looking at about 5,000 people that are ready to get in and cheer for their favorite player in this competition. This whole event will probably see 50,000 to 70,000 people go through the doors over the course of the weekend. That’s a live event.

But honestly, the real audience is online, where my audience basically can be anyone who has access to the internet. Our daily shows receive anywhere from—depending on the content and the size of the show—anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 people viewing the program live. And then we do rebroadcasts for the European audience, and we have available, so any given show any given week, we’re reaching an audience of 100,000 or more unique people. That continues to grow.

The demographic is typically anywhere from as young as 13 and as old as 50. That’s one of the reasons I think we’re seeing pretty epic growth of gaming right now on the professional level, because a lot of people that grew up with gaming in college are now salaried employees that have money to spend, and they still love games, so what do they do? They seek out these competitions, or maybe buy a pay-per-view to watch their favorite player. Or maybe they buy a season pass to an online gaming league.

Gameological: This generational thing is interesting to me. I’ll admit, I was talking to someone about this interview and they said, “Wait, ‘e-sports’? That’s a thing?” They weren’t even aware of it. And I said, yeah, I’m a little skeptical of it, too. But I guess as we grow up, there’s going to be a demand for these things that people didn’t even conceive of 20 years ago.

If you watch a master of the craft play Quake, you’re almost seeing a dancer.

djWHEAT: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. Again it comes back a lot to the exposure, as well. If I go back to the years of about 2004 or 2005, when there wasn’t online video streaming, there wasn’t Twitter, there wasn’t Facebook—the social-network phenomenon hadn’t really hit the internet—as far as exposure went, it almost had to be a word-of-mouth sort of engagement. Now that’s all changing once I can tweet to my followers and suddenly have the audience of 50,000 people tuning in to a match.

Gameological: You’re a multi-sport guy within the e-sports world. You broadcast a number of different games. I think of Al Michaels—he can broadcast any sport but his bread and butter is football. Do you have a bread-and-butter game?

djWHEAT: I would say my two bread-and-butter games are the Quake series, which is pretty much what I grew up on, and then as of late, StarCraft has certainly been added to my résumé of bread-and-butter games.

Gameological: Those games have been around for a long time. So what is it that give them such longevity, over any number of other similar games?

djWHEAT: Honestly, I think it has to do with these games all having the ability to translate skills into something that is very easy to see. If I watch an unexperienced player sit down and play Quake, I will be watching another video game. If I watch a master of the craft play Quake, you’re almost seeing a dancer who is able to bust out these insanely ridiculous moves. You’re seeing a whole side of the game that you just wouldn’t see, even if you as a player sit down and play.

It’s no different than asking “How do these guys jump so high?” or “How are they dunking that?” People sit there in awe of what these athletes are prepared to do. It’s a similar thing [in e-sports]. If your game is not able to truly have that deeper skill level to it that people can watch and go, “This guy is so much better than me that I’m blown away,” then you’re automatically not going to be a contender in this field. We’ve looked at the best games, like Quake, StarCraft, Counter-Strike. These games are enjoyable to play for anyone, but if you are the best of the best, then you are able to play the game in a way that puts other people in awe.

Gameological: Do play styles change over time? Do people play StarCraft differently than they did five years ago?

djWHEAT: Absolutely. It’s funny because we were just talking about that, comparing some of the players and games that took place a year ago at this event, and it’s night and day.

Gameological: Really? Just one year?

djWHEAT: One year, yeah. Because you have to understand that first off, there’s the mechanic side to it, how well can you control your keyboard and mouse. And then the other side of it is, there’s a meta-game. It’s “What is the popular unit?” “How are people reacting to this?” Maybe one guy is developing a strategy that no one’s quite figured out how to beat yet, and so he saves it. Then he comes to an event, and he unleashes it on everyone, and everyone’s like, “Oh my gosh, look at this new stuff that he’s doing.” And then what happens is suddenly, someone else takes that strategy and that becomes a larger part of the meta-game. So, yes, there’s constantly evolution in the way that players play. From one tournament to the next, you will never see the same game twice, ever.

Gameological: So what event are you at right now?

djWHEAT: I’m at the Major League Gaming Winter Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

Gameological: Set the stage for me. Who should we be watching, and what are we watching for?

The Koreans had players who were more popular than movie stars.

djWHEAT: One of the major storylines that exists in StarCraft in general is the storyline of the foreigners versus the Koreans. The Koreans had a very—I mean they just had a cultural phenomenon with the original StarCraft. They had players who were more popular than movie stars. It was a part of their society. The StarCraft players were having to be bussed around in tinted windows and vans because of how popular the game actually was. As a result, they created this really, really interesting ecosystem that just fueled the competitive spirit over there and created this army of super-gamers. That has transcended to StarCraft II.

With the global appeal of the game, however, this constant storyline exists of, “Will the foreigners finally be able to best the Koreans?” It’s happened before, but it’s still pretty common consensus that the Koreans are the best players in the game right now.

Gameological: Say someone reads this interview and wants to check e-sports out. Where do they go to get a primer and get into it?

djWHEAT: One of the best places that people can go is Twitch. TwitchTV is the way that most of our professional gamers are able to interact with their audience and showcase what they’re playing and their own play styles.

Are you familiar with skateboarding? One of the interesting things about skateboarding is when it first started, before the X Games, before people started to identify skateboarding as this actual professional sport, the skateboarders had no name for themselves. The Tony Hawks didn’t necessarily have an outlet. But what these guys would do is create skate videos, and that’s how a lot of these guys got popular—by their skate videos getting popular. This was all done before the dawn of internet technology. People then started really getting acclimated to them because they were like, “I love this guy and the way he skates.” Twitch is like a live skate video all the time for these players.

You’re also learning something from the interactive element, which is the chat—the other audience [members]. If you come in, and you say, “Oh I’ve never seen this strategy before, what is he doing?” Then suddenly you’ve got this very involved, interactive audience who are like, “Let me tell you, he’s doing this special 16 Gateway build.” And then you ask, “Can you explain to me what ‘16 Gateway’ means?” “Yeah, it means when you build this building at this Supply.” “Well, what is Supply?”

Gameological: It sounds like the spirit is very welcoming, and there’s not really a “Go away, noob” type of response.

djWHEAT: Very much, yes. The interactive element of Twitch and of the competitive gaming scene has absolutely been a thriving factor in getting more people involved. I can’t tell you how many girlfriends I see at these events who will say, “I knew nothing about this, and it was watching the players that got me into it. I still don’t know the names to all the units, but that MarineKingPrime is so cute, and I love it when he wins.” That’s the type of fandom that we’re starting to see that we did not see even three years ago.

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  • http://thewavefunctionjunction.blogspot.com/ trilobiter

    My roommate and I are way into the MLG Starcraft tournaments, we’ve been watching together for over a year now.

    We like the idea of e-sports growing into a real “thing” that is culturally commonplace and relevant to ordinary people, like skateboarding and the like have become, but it seems as though even skateboarding is still considered a tier below the big games like football and baseball and basketball.  I guess the real question in my mind is whether e-sports are going to be another tier below that, or meet that bar.  And even if it does meet that bar, will time lead to even more mainstream success?  I don’t know.

    • flowsthead

      Considering that Starcraft has been fairly successful at playing in Bars (Barcraft), I would say that eSports has a leg up on skateboarding competitions. I could be wrong though since I am not familiar with the skateboarding scene, but could you ever go to a bar and watch a skateboarding competition? How often were the competitions, as in how often could you organize an event where you go to watch one of these?

      The neat thing about SC2 is that there is pretty much an event every weekend, and there is at least one large event every month, so organizing a weekly or month Barcraft makes sense. And Bar owners have been pretty happy with it seeing as they get a new customer base that they may not have gotten before.

      Again, I am going to display my ignorance here, but I was also under the impression that while the skateboarding community certainly wanted their sport to be more popular, they also had a general identification as underground and against the mainstream. eSports is quite the opposite. Most people want Starcraft to be more mainstream and more popular. That is an important factor in what you are willing to do.

      For example, because the community has been discussing it for such a long time, there is a general understanding that doing good things for your sponsors and plugging them is good for the community since it means more money for players and tournaments. There have been many people who ask players or casters to use more commercials (as long as they are done well or provide an option to pay to see no commercials) if it means that they can support their favorite player/caster/show. There is an interesting embrace of the financial realities of sports in eSports where very few people make the accusation that a person is selling out if they do something sponsor related.

      All of those factors together means that in my mind eSports has fairly significant mainstream prospects, but maybe not in the short term. I think if games like SC2 and LoL or Dota can sustain themselves for the next decade whether through a stable pool of professional players/teams or through a successive stream of sequels, then we may see eSports join the mainstream. It is difficult to tell though because a decade is a long time, and I don’t see it happening in the next 1 to 2 years, but it is possible.

  • Binsbein

    It seems like Marcus has a passion for his job as a commentator and I can appreciate that. However, the MLG/E-sports scene has a bad track record as of late for homophobia and racist remarks with the Orb and Aris controversies still being fresh. As much as I’d like to believe this isn’t a bigger testament to the community at large, Battle.net is still Battle.net.

    • Swadian Knight

      Yeah. While this scene can be somewhat accepting of noobs as djWHEAT said, the hostility against pretty much anyone who deviates from their established “norm” is pretty jarring.

      Then again, I guess you could say this applies to a majority of the gaming community, and MLG/e-sports are at least exposing that. 

      And that might be a good thing; it forces people to confront this issue, and with its growing audience and mainstream appeal it may be a good step towards change.

      • ZessiM

        I feel the Starcraft community is far more mature than the wider gaming world that you’re talking about.

        The backlash against Orb, and the disgust towards the sexual harassment in the fighting game community was pretty prominent on most of the Starcraft community sites. You can go to http://www.reddit.com/r/starcraft right now, which is a hub for our community, and see the overwhelming messages of support for a transgender female player called Scarlett who made her breakout performances at IPL this weekend. There is a fanclub dedicated to her at Team Liquid, another community forum, that you can see here - 
        http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=326767. 48 pages of well-wishing and support.

        Of course, every online community will have a vocal minority of idiots and trolls. But the face of the Starcraft community is, I feel, very friendly and welcoming of all people. I hope gaming in general is moving in this direction.

        • Swadian Knight

          A great number of people in that community defended, approved, and made light of Orb’s behavior, and the expression he used even became something of a meme at the time. 

          I think the Starcraft community has a bigger spotlight over it and that creates an environment where most people will try not to expose themselves as something socially unacceptable, but I don’t think it can yet claim that its hostility all stems from a vocal minority, or dismiss it because of that.

    • starvtwalker

      That is true, but it is also important to note that the community of Starcraft at least is obsessed with figuring out what is the right thing to do, and with the recent controversy with Orb and his racist remarks, many people felt that he should be fired for the things he said.

      I think it is a little reductive to say that there is bad track record because mainstream sports stars and commentators say and do awful things all the time. What is telling is the response from the community.

      I wouldn’t use Battle.net as a good base to judge that. I would go to TeamLiquid.net which does a pretty good job of self-moderating. It’s not perfect, but there is a large percentage of the community interested in becoming more professional.

      • manitoba6

         Just wanted to point out that TeamLiquid.net is not self-moderated.  The reason there are mostly pro-Scarlett posts on that thread is because a moderator banned anything but utter support in most cases of that particular thread.

        The reality is that many people wonder if an XY person who identifies as female is really evidence of a high-level ‘girl’ gamer.  If there are truly advantages to being male vis-a-vis gaming, this individual would have the same advantages genetically.  For obvious reasons this would not break the stereotype.  Those who advocate for a truly ‘female’ XX gamer to be the benchmark of a top-level girl gamer get banned.

    • BuntlineSpecial

      Wow.  Just googled that whole issue, and, frankly, I’m really surprised at all the commentors defending that guy.  Teti, if you’re monitoring these forums, that’s a story worth covering.

      • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

        I came across mentions of it while I was researching this article but didn’t go in depth on account of I was focused on djWHEAT. I’ll take a look; thanks for the tip.

      • http://thewavefunctionjunction.blogspot.com/ trilobiter

         I’m not surprised at all.  People circle the wagons in times like this because admitting categorically that racism is wrong invites an invitation for an inspection of your own record, and nobody wants to catch themselves in hypocrisy. 

        Very few people are willing to own up to the label of being a “racist,” because being a racist is socially unacceptable.  Racist ideas and behaviors, however, are still marginally acceptable.  It’s possible to hold them and act on them, and still maintain a denial that you are a racist.

        • HobbesMkii

           Well, I think the key to it is to accept and acknowledge that everyone (including those who denounce prejudice) has prejudices–and that those inherent prejudices don’t make denouncing prejudice of any form hypocritical by default. Quite the opposite I’d say. If you’re aware of your own prejudices, you can speak to prejudice from first-hand experience.

          But, this is the Internet we’re talking about. I’m not a human being, I’m just some words that appear in a thread somewhere next to a cartoon tiger from the 1990s. I don’t have to have to suppress my socially unacceptable views because there’s no social pressure to do so.

    • Shain Eighmey

      E-Sports are all still young though. I try to think of this period as a quirky adolescence, and means it can still grow into a fine upstanding adult despite currently being a pimple faced jerk who is taking out its insecurities on others to make itself feel cool. 

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I really really fucking wish “gamers” could get over this shit. I wanted to play TF2 with my girlfriend, but if she were to use the voice chat at all she would be flooded with creepy people/assholes/creepy assholes so she never even got into it. And that’s TF2; the most easygoing of FPSs. Fuck, even Minecraft was shitty for her. I’ve been playing a lot of Dota 2 lately and as much as I’d love to play it with her I can’t subject her to those shitheads.

      Fuck, I just want to play videogames with people I like.

      Also, what the hell is with these people saying “rape” all the goddamn time? I wish that would stop happening. 

      • http://thewavefunctionjunction.blogspot.com/ trilobiter

         Competitive video gaming, I think, puts young men in a state of mind where they feel extra eager to assert their masculinity.  And because they’re young and stupid, the best way to do this in their mind is to adopt an atavistic mindset where women are objects and men need to assert their control over them.

        Of course, whether your girlfriend wants to put up with their shit is really up to her, right?  By all means warn her ahead of time, but if you tell her not to because everyone on there is a misogynistic jerk, then you’re just perpetuating the environment that enables their behavior.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Yeah, I thought maybe it would come across like that, but she’s played WoW before (which I never played) so she knew what to expect (ugh, how fucked up is that?) so it was hard enough to get her to try playing Minecraft online with me, even though she really liked the single player. And of course some creepy little fuckers harassed her when we were trying to build a cool house on a mountain. I love videogames but I hate playing them with such shitty people. 

        • DrunkPhilatelist

           well put. i often play online via the ol’ 360 and have reconciled myself to the fact that most people i’m going to encounter are just awful. little did i realize that my attitude was a tacit endorsement of their douchebaggery.
          what then is the answer? if the internet at large is any indication, the increase in the number of participants will not help the issue.

      • Southern_Discomfort

         Ah yes, I remember the days of sitting in the dorm room listening to my roommate – someone who I was real friends with and was never like this anywhere else – unleash streams of vitriol I’d never thought possible while playing Dota. So many “f*ggots,” “n*ggers,” and “f*ggot n*ggers.”

  • The_Asinus

    Quake Dancing
    I was a quake dancer. I had a dedicated server that I cranked the speed up on because I could really get into a flow if I didn’t have time to think. I managed to develop enemies IRL because they were sure i was using a bot, but once you get it down, you know exactly how slightly to move the mouse to quickly flip 90 degrees and hammer someone with a rocket, or exactly where to throw a grapple hook to zip through a quad damage or an invincibility power up, or circle strafe around someone and mow them with a super nailgun. God, that was fun. But even more fun was logging onto another clan’s server, getting to know them, and just generally having a blast with CTF.

    If anyone knows or was in The Clan from Lollipop Land, I’d love to know what happened to them! They had a great server.

    I loved the first quake– the lack of balance in the weapons, the speed of it, etc. Quake 1 and 3 were by far the best time I’ve had in and online game. The online community has changed a bit since then– not a lot of people had broadband or powerful enough computers to play quake competitively, and the vibe was often way, way more friendly. I kind of lost interest once it became incredibly douchey. It used to be that there would be a single douche (one LPB making life miserable for HPBs– the polite thing was to check everyone’s ping and if you were the only LPB to move on) who could be neutralized. I checked the pings on my server once before logging in and there was a known asshole with a ping of 18 or so taking it to a bunch of people with 400 – 800 pings. I logged in, joined the opposite team, and just took on an LPB hunter-destroyer mission. I didn’t catch flags or defend, I just went on a hunt for that guy (I already knew him and knew he was an asshole). It took about 5 minutes for him to leave. Fun times. Now my upstream on my DSL is way shittier than it was in the dorm so running a decent server is about impossible.

    *cue “WHere Have all the Flowers Gone?”*

    • http://thewavefunctionjunction.blogspot.com/ trilobiter

       ”I was a Quake Dancer” has got to be the best opening line in video game comment history.

  • RasilBathrobe

    For anyone interested in seeing what a live e-sports broadcast is like, the IGN Pro League (which is almost as big a deal as MLG) starts tomorrow (Friday).  It’s nice to see this site covering e-sports a little – most gaming sites don’t really seem to know what to make of it, and usually just ignore it, but there are some really interesting stories to be found.

    For NERDSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    • http://thewavefunctionjunction.blogspot.com/ trilobiter

       Is this Gameological’s version of a certain AV Club meme?

  • markymark5005

    I think it is a little reductive to say that there is bad track record
    because mainstream sports stars and commentators say and do awful things
    all the time. What is telling is the response from the community.

    http://goo.gl/urqzK

  • HobbesMkii

    A buddy of mine is really into competitive Starcraft, so much that his team conversations are always popping up on his facebook page, which has introduced me to the plethora of short-hand serious Starcraft players use.

    And part of me thinks: “hey, that’s pretty fucking badass that he’s owning up to his enthusiasm for a videogame, especially on facebook, where he’s liable to be judged by people without ever knowing that they might hold this thing he cherishes in contempt. That’s something I could never do, thanks to a myriad of neuroses on my part.”

    But another part of me is embarrassed and wishes he would stop be I really, really dislike the whole concept of organized competitive gaming. I mean, I love playing against people online for many games, but I don’t want it publicized all around and see some attempt to make it rival sports.

    And there’s a reason for this: because I don’t think you can be a sport and be art at the same time. I think sports can lend themselves to artistic moments, but that overall they are immune to that basic definition art–”illuminating an aspect of the human condition”–outside of the fact they illustrate what happens when one player goes up against another.  And I want videogames to be art, not sports.

    I could be convinced that videogames could have a dual sport/art nature, but as it stands, I don’t see how that could really work. Everything tells a story, even multiplayer. If you play Call of Duty, the story is about the military forces at odds with each other. If you play FIFA it’s about your team/player’s season or match. If you play Starcraft, it’s about Zerg v. Protoss v. Terran. To focus strictly on these games as a platform for competition divorces them from their own internal reality and narrative, and that bothers me immensely.

    • flowsthead

      I’m not sure I understand this. How do you see a story in FIFA or Starcraft multiplayer? For that matter, you see a story in FIFA but not in the real sport of soccer? That seems to be a contradiction.

      • HobbesMkii

        So, here’s how I see it: I play a FIFA Virtual Pro season, and it’s a story about my guy, his history, his rising stardom (or waning stardom). Some of that detail (I’d call it backstory) is even filled in by the announcers during the game. Moreover, it’s not just a desire to win, it’s a desire to see my guy perform to the script I’ve already prearranged in my mind, but are allowed to improvise. I’m legitimately disappointed in myself if I screw up, and that self-reflexive emotional reaction is the heart of art to me. Maybe that’s unique to how me in how people engage with sports games, but there it is. A match in Starcraft could easily be seen as a story of how two to eight members of the various three civilizations established small outposts, how those outposts grew and came into contact and conflict with each other, within the preexisting narrative of the game itself. It’s just a continuation of that story–an epilogue that takes place in the status quo that arises at the end. The story of Starcraft actually wraps up by leaving justification as to why all the races are at war with each other and themselves.

        Yes, a sport does have artistic narrative elements–I’m a Red Sox fan from well before 2004, so to me everything they do is steeped in their history. But none of it has any bearing on me. I’m bummed when the Sox lose (and boy how they lose), but at no point does their loss force me to reflect on myself or human nature. And that’s because sports aren’t intended to communicate higher truths–they’re intended to say something as simple as “Team/Person A beats Team/Person B. Team/Person A is better (today) than Team/Person B (at this sport).” Sports can tell stories with very specific and revealing universal truths: The stories of Tiger Woods, Ty Cobb, and Michael Vick demonstrate that morals have little bearing on physical prowess, but that was (hopefully) not the goal of those three men when they set out on their careers.

        Does that make sense?

        • flowsthead

          It makes me think you are absolutely crazy. But I respect your ability to empathize with non-descript video game characters.

          No, I get it. I just don’t see what you see. It basically is like a sport for me. I just find it wondrous to watch certain players do spectacular things. And I guess part of it is also that certain players have very magnetic personalities which also attracts me to the professional side of Starcraft.

          Have you ever tried watching a tournament? I mean maybe it’s not for you, but who knows?