More Competitive Gaming Woes

- 5 min read

I recently wrote about my new sim racing hobby and how I found a multiplayer community that I loved. My main shift was due to me not getting the level of enjoyment I wanted out of playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I found a level of enjoyment that also offered a level of competition in sim racing. With CS:GO I would end up blaming teammates for our bad games, sometimes hurling verbal abuse at people I would consider my friends.

Friendly racing turns difficult

I haven’t been sim racing for long, it all started in May and I’ve acquired more and more gear surrounding the hobby. It started with a Logitech G29 wheel and pedal combo which has now evolved into a simrig consisting of a racing bucket seat, frame, specialist load-cell pedals and the original Logitech G29 wheel (which I might replace with something else in the future).

I had gone through this because like other hobbies I like the “collection” side of it as well. I own a bunch of rock-climbing gear that I don’t use much anymore since I’m not comfortable going to the gym just yet (yay COVID-19). Sim racing brings with it the joy of computer hardware and putting together a collection of hardware that lives in this nice symbiotic environment of geek and racing fan.

Until tonight I’ve had relatively good races. I’ve even taken part in a 4 hour endurance race and I’m planning on taking part in another in less than 2 weeks. Tonight I had a league race with an F3 car on Laguna Seca and to be very honest it was an absolute mess. Now this track is one of the legendary tracks in the world because of one very difficult turn: the corkscrew.

I’d encourage you watch the video above showcasing it, but all I can tell you is it’s a terrifying corner to drive. I highly doubt racing sims will be able to do the corner any justice and I’m sure if I were to physically drive down it I’d soil my pants from the sheer terror. Add to this corner the mix of trying to compete in a race and that in a car that can easily do more than 250 km/h down a good straight. You’re sure to get a good mix of terrible if you’re not ready.

Nothing is safe from the salt

Now I had a bit of a rough start and I found myself carrying damage very early on. Mix in the nerves of not really feeling that prepared for the track and I’m sure it explains why I did so badly, but about 90% of the way in it left me with a very familiar feeling: salt.

The big problem here was that no one was to blame, yet I was trying to find some way in my mind to justify just running somebody off the road to feel better about it all. In the end I decided to just disconnect from the server before I end up ruining someone else’s race. I feel good about doing this, but it’s left me somewhat sad knowing that I managed to get as worked up during this race as I could get in a game of Counter-Strike with 4 of my friends.

Scott Hanselman also recently wrote about dealing with exteme physical pain and the main idea of it all is rooted in how 2020 has been quite a sucky year and sometimes we just need to listen to our bodies. I think I’m finding myself in a very similar place emotionally:

  • I’ve been at home since the end of March now
  • I went through 2 quite stressful review periods at work because of this (they weren’t bad, just stressful)
  • My lovely wife and I are buying a house which brings all of it’s own stresses
  • My grandmother passed away in August
  • 2020 as a year has sucked for humans

Now I’m not trying to get attention or sympathy saying this, I’m just trying to put down why I’m feeling quite meh recently. It’s important to introspect about this from time to time and to then listen to your body to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Salt can wash away

Now I don’t want to conclude this post with something mushy like “time heals all wounds”, but I do want to highlight that time can help with this. I’ve not been this angry while playing a game in quite some time, but now that it’s almost an hour later I feel much calmer. I even realised I was in the division 1 race and I pushed to be there so that I can free up Wednesday evening to have a visit with my cousin Matt who’s back from Germany for a few weeks.

I’ll survive all this, but I now need to make sure I grab onto the opportunities to also enjoy myself outside if my personal bubble. This is a bit of a personal post, but if you did read to hear I do hope you find these words useful/helpful. As Scott Hanselman writes: listen to your body. I think I’m going to take this week and try that out.