ESporty Spice

Hard to type right now – I’m in a state of feverish excitement. Sticking with the Hearthstone theme of the last few posts I have just hit the grand old rank of 8. EIGHT. I write it in letters so there is no confusion. EIGHT. This is officially my best ever season. If this were a Rocky film I’ve just caught the chicken, Mickey is chuffed to pieces & I’m about to run up the steps with a load of kids cheering me on. It’s exactly that moment.

I think perhaps writing about my Hearthstone life (yes it is now my life) in this very blog is bringing me luck. So I must continue – everything depends on it.

I managed today to get from 10 to 8 playing a hunter deck. Life has come full circle. Two posts back I was a hunter, last post I was a priest, now I am a hunter again. I’m a holy man gone renegade. Let’s not talk about the bleak period in between (ie last night – we now call it Dark Friday) when I tried to play my own Paladin deck. I will never learn.

I have been rather inspired in my play by the Heathstone World Championship  EU qualifiers. Yes I’m even watching the game now & joining in with the casters who gasp at every turn and express shock and amazement at the most ordinary plays – “OMG Kolento just put down a mana totem, that’s why he’s one of the best players in the world.” Nevertheless their excitement is contagious – when a Priest thoughtstealed (yes its a verb) Jarraxus earlier today I reacted as if the player had got up from his chair & started levitating (“Look look”-pointing at the screen and spluttering-“Look look what he just did”).

It’s also interesting to watch the players themselves. A body language expert would have a field day. Everyone is rubbing their heads, their chins, their lips (their own of course – they barely make eye contact with each other). I noticed one practically rocking in his chair. There’s not much in the way of poker faces here. And they all look so young (like all the policemen these days – when did I get so old?).

When the camera pans back you see two burly bodyguards standing right by the table – less than a foot away from the players. Not sure what that’s all about. Are they expecting (hoping) that some lovestruck groupies are going to storm the stage, unable to resist these Hearthstone stars? All the players I’ve seen are men by the way.  No female players seem to have got through this time round (sadly my own winning streak started a little too late for me to be a contender). A blonde woman in a possibly too short skirt (depending on the viewing angle) tottered about the stage before the first game (I think the shoes were a new purchase)  asking the  players some fairly inane questions (“Are you excited to be here today?” monotone reply – “Yes”).  She clutched a huge question card in front of her – it was bigger than her skirt. I can only speculate on the reason (so I will  –  poor eyesight and a refusal to face up to the fact she needs glasses … been there sister). After a bit she gave up trying to engage the players in anything approaching conversation and stumbled off stage – nearly poking herself in the eye with her microphone as she went (that would not have helped her eyesight). The players were left  looking rather bemused (“What a weird groupie” one mouthed to the other, in my head). The bouncers looked on protectively.

One thing I’ve enjoyed is seeing the players make the same mistakes I make. Earlier today a player miscounted – he thought a play would kill his minion (thus triggering a card draw from a Cult Master) but once he had made his move he realised he still had one health left so no card draw. He smiled ruefully & promptly conceded.   “I’ve done that,” I told husband excitedly, “I’ve made that very same mistake.” Never before have I rejoiced so in my own ineptitude. Twitch chat was of course unforgiving but I was all warm and fuzzy inside.

It really is a lot of fun & I’m looking forward to watching the tournament (virtually of course) at Blizzcon. But every time I watch a game I get the irresistable urge to fire up Hearthstone and have a quick game myself. I used to be the same every June when Wimbledon was on – out would come my dusty racket & off I’d trot to the local tennis courts. Everyone had the same idea of course  so the courts were quite overrun with pretend Everts, Borgs, McEneroes etc  (I was always Evonne Cawley by the way – I was quite taken with her curly hair – sadly this taste in hairstyles led me on a rather unfortunate path through the years that eventually saw me looking like Noddy Holder at my father’s wedding). Anyway tennis fever never lasted much beyond Wimbledon fortnight. One month or so later the courts were once again empty and unloved and my tennis racket was back to being a make do guitar (not that tuneful I must admit, but my riffs never lacked in passion). Tennis is hard. Certainly too hard for me. But  Hearthstone is different – there’s no  running around and flailing wildly at a ball and I never get hot and sweaty (unless husband has finally agreed to put the central heating on for a bit – he usually relents when my nose is icy to the touch – let’s just call him frugal and leave it there) . I can play Hearthstone with coffee and cake by my side. That’s the type of sport I like – Esports. My PE teacher would be so proud.




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