I’ve pointed out on many occasions that I’m a lifelong Boston fan. Which is going to happen when your family is from Boston. Even though now I don’t follow baseball or basketball since living on my own, growing up I remembered the pain of being a Boston fan. How they either just set the bar low for expectations and keep it there or raise your expectations, only to hit you in the face with “psych!” Then, you stick by your team in hopes that one day your loyalty will pay off. If it doesn’t, you’re stuck because you’ve already purchased all the merch and you’re too cheap to jump ship. I’m more on the “wait for the loyalty to pay off”, because it did work for my beloved New England Patriots. We’ll get there again, hopefully in my lifetime.
The Boston Uprising and the Houston Outlaws fans are both used to this pain. The Houston Outlaws fans so far have had quite the rollercoaster ride, with solid performances in the qualifiers only to fall very short in the actual tournaments. I actually feel bad for these fans because they did have signs to backup their hopes for greatness. The Uprising, on the other hand, have not really had the best start. Going 1-3 in the May Melee qualifiers was a very rough start. But then, we start the June Joust qualifiers and we are dominating teams. It was exciting! Could we make it?! The next 2 matches were going to be rough as both Paris Eternal and the Los Angeles Gladiators were both really solid teams, especially with this hero pool meta. Even if we lost both matches, if we could at least get one map each and other pieces fell into place, we could still make the Knockouts. Right?
We did lose both matches. We did get one map off of the Los Angeles Gladiators and 2 off of the Los Angeles Gladiators. We played (mostly) strong, but there were things that weren’t working out. Why was Im37 way over wherever he was and dying all the time? Why did the team go super aggressive and practically spawn camp when they should have stayed closer to the point? It wasn’t the result of one person failing, not with either the Outlaws or the Uprising. It was about the team not coming together or silly mistakes that were made by everyone. These are humans, who have real emotions that soar during these matches. They get angry because they are losing and make silly mistakes. They are so desperate for a win to show their fans that they are capable and that their fans should stick by them. Because even when you lose, real fans will always stick by if there’s a glimmer of something to root for.
They did make it into the June Joust Knockouts, which was exciting. Could we shape up and beat Atlanta Reign? Even if we could, how well would we do against the San Francisco Shock, the back-to-back Grand Finals champions who have had their own struggles this season? Well, we got 3-0’ed and only really put up a fight on Numbani, which we then didn’t put up a fight and just fell apart when we were so close to victory. At least the Reign was also a strong enough team to beat the Shock… so there’s that to comfort us?
The Uprising seems to have reverted back to their days of “Let’s bash our heads against a wall doing something that obviously isn’t working” and refusing to find a way to adapt. They did that well in earlier matches, making adjustments to comps and strats during the match. They didn’t win, but at least they would try to adapt. Why didn’t Punk come in on Numbani, especially after that last time when he absolutely dominated on the map? Why didn’t we try going with mirror comps? Why didn’t we play to our strengths instead of forcing something that wasn’t working perfectly? I get that you practice something so much that you want to get stubborn and stick with it, but when it doesn’t work it is as frustrating for the fans as it is for the players. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and most of these players are the same age as my oldest, but I feel so sad for those players when I see how those losses affect them.
I believe in my team, though. I’m rooting for them to shake it off and come back stronger in the Summer Showdown. I like this team and they have such potential if they only have the support staff to help them. I trust in Lori and I even trust in Ascroft. But I feel like there’s something behind the scenes that isn’t clicking and I’m not sure it’s on Lori. I think if we just leave him to do what he does, the team is going to make a great comeback.