When my son entered this world and I officially became a father, I immediately fell in love with the tiny, helpless human I saw before me. I wanted to do everything I could to protect him from harm, but I also knew I couldn’t control the world around me and that I would have to let him handle some things on his own.
This realization hit me pretty hard early in 2019 when we found out that a pretty large local community held Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments every Sunday. We had already been enjoying the game on our own, but these guys took it to another level. Because of how skilled even their lowest-level players are, I was terrified to let my then seven-year-old boy try his hand at playing with this group. I was worried that they would crush his spirit so much that he would never want to play any game in a community ever again.
But then, I saw something amazing happen. Not only did they welcome him, he’s become a fixture to them. On weekends that we haven’t been able to go to the tournament, they tell me that his energy and the level of fun he brings to his matches is dearly missed. Other players have even paused their matches to watch him because of how unconventional and aggressive he plays.
Because of that, he doesn’t win very often, but they continue to encourage him, and that is the part that makes me so happy to be a part of this community. Outside of the tournament matches, they challenge him to free play matches where they teach him the language of the game and give him tips on how to get better. They tell him the techniques that they use and how to get better with the characters he enjoys using.
It’s so cool to see a community of players that welcome a newcomer with open arms. That’s exactly the kind of community LTN wants to celebrate. It fills my heart with joy when he gets to play against his tournament buddies. It makes me laugh when they try to censor their language when they play with him, because it can certainly get colorful in the room we play in.Not only did they welcome him, he’s become a fixture to them.
The best part is that they’ve let him in and he’s now a crucial part of their Sundays. I know he’s going to be thrilled to join the tournaments again when they restart. He’s staying sharp and playing when he doesn’t have schoolwork to do at home during this quarantine time. He’s going to be ready to play, but most importantly, he’s ready to play this game with a community that doesn’t shun “n00bs,” but instead has made what could be a lifelong Smash Bros. player out of an eight-year-old boy who has an enthusiasm to be in community with others as well.