The Overwatch League- The End of the Regular Season

The final stage of the Overwatch League’s inaugural first regular season has finally ended. Shanghai never got their win, but they did get significantly better. Things are going to turn around for them next season when they work out their little issues, such as not being able to close up a match even though you fought hard. Here is a quick look at what happened this week.

Boston Uprising started off the stage with no wins but turned it around, winning every game that they needed to in order to stay in the playoff contention for the post-season. This team, that everyone predicted would finish in last, actually finished off in 3rd place and will cry home with their fancy  guaranteed $150,000 prize money on top of the $25,000 they won for second place in Stage 3. Just for getting into the playoffs, they will walk away with a minimum of $50,000. Not bad for playing a video game.

Valiant did not walk away with the first seed in the Stage 4 playoffs, but they did walk away with the championship. Valiant defeat the reigning Stage 3 and 4 champions the NYXL to take the $100,000 prize pot for the stage. This win wasn’t a surprise. Valiant had a solid Stage 4 and in the previous match, NYXL struggled against the Dallas Fuel to even make it in the finals. With no break in between to rest up, they weren’t the strong team NYXL fans have grown accustomed to. As much as I love SBB and Pine, I was glad to see another team walk away with the championship title.

The playoffs are a month away and these teams are going to be practicing non-stop to get their hands on the $1 million prize for the Grand Finals champion. I hope my Uprising makes it, but realistically it will be a NYXL vs. LA Valiant for a rematch. I hope to be surprised but that is my early prediction.

I also can’t wait to see what’s in store for the All-Star matches. I’m hoping for some Mystery Heroes or Competitive Deathmatch action. No matter what happens, that will certainly be a fun event to watch.

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Amid the Parenting Struggles, It’s the Little Things

There are little things that parents who have had “normal” children take for granted. It’s ok. I get it. My oldest child has always been, and is still in a lot of ways, the “perfect” child. He’s so well-behaved that it feels like I have to pick at something small to make him seem worse than he is. Sure, he doesn’t help out around the house as much as I’d like but what teenager really does? He gets straight As, has a plan for college, and is pretty much loved by everyone who meets him. He won’t even pull out his phone in class without asking permission first. He is just too good. He crawled, walked, and spoke well before the milestones said he would. He could read at an early age and was reading at a college level before he went into middle school. He’s smart, athletic, and adorable. And most importantly, he’s kind and protective.

It’s a shock to go from that to a “abnormal” child. I use the quotes in both cases because I’m using society’s definition. No child is normal or abnormal. They just do things their own way. My youngest started following the same trends, hitting most of his motor skill milestones as early as his brother or in some cases earlier. I had no idea that there was going to be a problem. I knew at some point before his first birthday that he didn’t say his first word. By that time, my oldest had already started 2 word sentences. I didn’t think about it. Every kid is different. Milestones, blah blah. Except by 2, he was still practically non-verbal.

When I wrote “A Special Place for Noah”, I reiterated a simple point: every little thing matters. The joy I feel every time my youngest looks me in the eyes to have a conversation with me just can’t be described. He’s engaged. He makes eye contact. Even at 3 by the time he started preschool, he still barely spoke or looked anyone in the eyes. It’s tough knowing that you are doing everything that you are supposed to and still sucking at  your one job. He went from not speaking, to speaking at us, to now actively engaging in conversation. He reads visual cues from an expression on our faces. He’s empathetic, comforting his friends. He plays with kids now, not just next to them.

It seems silly to other parents that don’t understand. They don’t understand that every time a child makes eye contact with you, when they spent so much time avoiding it, is a huge moment. Any time that they don’t have a meltdown because their routine was messed up in some way is a huge moment. All of these little things matter. I don’t care if you think I’m ridiculous in celebrating these little things. Great, your child was potty trained by 2 and speaks exceedingly well for their age. Guess what? That perfect mom isn’t telling you all of the story, only the parts that makes her look like supermom. I used to look at my youngest after seeing posts like that and wondered how I screwed this all up. But I didn’t. I did everything I could. I’m doing everything that I can do. That’s enough for me to go to sleep fine at night.

Some kids just have a slower path but eventually they all get where they were meant to. Sometimes you just have to remember that everyone is different, some requiring a bit more time and patience.

The Power of Words

Today’s post was originally going to be a statement on parenting children with “difficulties”. As a result of recent events, I’ve decided to postpone that post for a treat on Thursday. Maybe this means I can get back to this more often? No guarantees, but I’m really trying to be more regular with this. Back to the point. I’ve decided to finally talk about something that I will probably get hate responses for. Honestly, I don’t care. I’ve made it along just fine not really caring what people think and at 34, I don’t really see this changing anytime soon. I’m too old to change.

As a writer, I understand the power of words. I make a living off of this power. I try to use this power for good. In my books, I write about some issues that may be tougher to deal with but there’s something that you can relate to in them. It gives comfort to others reading something that resonates with them. For instance “A Special Place for Noah”, has a mother breaking down over her child’s issues. Even if you don’t have a child with developmental delays or other issues, every mom has been in that moment where they just locked themselves in a room and cried alone. Just saying this now, you may have nodded in agreement that you have been there. You just connected with those words. Those words had power.

That’s the thing with bullying, isn’t it? People use those words, that power, to hurt others. They use those words to control or harm. And those words do sting. Sometimes those words sting for decades later. I can remember every word a bully said to me back when I was younger. It’s the reality that words are more painful than a lot of physical harm that someone could do to you. Back then, I’d rather someone punch me in the face than use their hurtful words against me. I had no voice then. But I did have one powerful left hook and strong kicks.

I take freedom of speech very seriously. I understand there is a line that you don’t cross. I understand toeing that line of offensive and not. I understand that racial epithets are never okay. Most decent human beings do. I understand that other words take on different meanings to other people and they may find it offensive even if I find it ridiculous that it offends them. It’s not my place to judge. I spend too much time judging as it is, I don’t need more to add to the list.

I understand that there is a big difference between using the word “ape” against an African-American person and the “C” against any woman, though both carry an offensive nature to them. I don’t care to get into debates about which word is more offensive and whether or not celebrities on either side of the aisle get unfair treatment over words. Both sides push their own agenda. For instance, Roseanne was just practicing freedom of speech and it wasn’t racist at all so ABC was just pushing a liberal agenda firing her just like they did with “Last Man Standing”. It’s just another way the liberal media is taking down conservatives. No. Facts matter, people. Don’t just listen to mouthpieces pushing whatever agenda they are paid to push.

However, you cannot say that she was expressing freedom of speech using a term synonymous with racism while demanding that Robert De Niro should be boycotted for saying “F- Trump”. You can’t place freedom of speech wherever you want to make it fit your agenda. If racism gets a “freedom of speech” pass, so does saying “F- (insert a president’s name here)”. I don’t remember seeing those people voicing such disdain when people kept saying “F- Obama”. If saying “F- Obama” is perfectly fine, so is saying “F- Trump”. You can’t have it both ways. It’s either wrong for anyone to do or right for everyone. Me? I say that it’s a perfectly acceptable way to express your opinions. Also, I have been called the “C” word many times in my life and it never even bothered me. They’re probably right. I know who I am. And I can be kinda a “C” word.

Words are powerful. We should be teaching our children to use them wisely. In fact, we need to be better about how we use our words. Our kids are watching us. How are you going to use your words today?

Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 4

With the final week of the Overwatch League finally upon us, it’s time to take a look at how things are shaping up for playoff time. Fortunately the post season will keep us occupied for the next month, but when I don’t have to post about OWL I can post about the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth beta. But until then, let’s take a quick look at this week in OWL.

The first point that should be mentioned is the fact that the Valiant is still undefeated and have their spot in the Stage 4 and the post-season playoffs locked up. Shanghai Dragons had some seriously strong matches, but still ultimately came up short in their hunt for their first win of the season. This team has some strong players but they just can’t seem to close the deal to get those crucial wins. Their only real chance for a win would’ve been against the Mayhem, but they ended up losing in a heartbreaking match. That doesn’t stop the crowd going wild for this team, rooting for them to at least get one win by the end of the season.

Then there was my Boston Uprising. I was skeptical that they were going to even beat Shanghai this week, but Boston seems to be getting back up to their Stage 3 form. They have found their stride so much that I would actually buy NotE that corgi if I had the money to. They went 2-0 this week, which helped their shot at making the post-season playoffs. We went from worried that they would even make the playoffs to now being able to say that they have clinched a spot in the post-season. Will they get far? They could, especially if they find themselves in sync as they did all last stage. They have figured out Brigitte finally and have 2 wins on Hanamura now. If they keep this up, they are going to have a strong showing in the playoffs. Though, we should be happy that they even made it there considering the experts had them in last (or second to last) place prior to the season starting.

This is going to be an exciting week at OWL, watching the last teams clinch up their spots in the playoffs. Who will win it all? Probably NYXL, but there’s always a chance for an upset.

Mom Confessions: The Sad Truth

We’re not perfect as moms. If we were, we wouldn’t need to judge other moms so much. Talking to that mom who looked at me as if I were abusing my child for not babywearing. Those things are way to expensive and the ones that aren’t, I just didn’t have the patience to deal with. It’s ok. My children turned out just fine despite my poor decisions of formula feeding/bottle feeding breast milk and putting ketchup on everything even if it disgusts me because sometimes that’s the only way to get a kid to eat something.

We all have those dirty little secrets as parents/spouses. I’m here to admit mine.

  • Sometimes I lock myself into the bathroom or my bedroom. I don’t do it to cry. I do it because I secretly bought myself a treat and boys are ravenous beasts that sense you enjoying food and just magically appear. No, those Lindt chocolates are just for me and I do not feel guilty sitting on my bathroom floor to enjoy them in peace.
  • I bring my youngest to school early on rainy days. He’s only been late once, due to a doctor’s appointment. But on rainy days, I make sure I get there as soon as possible. Not for any other reason then to get rid of him quicker, especially on his more difficult days. I’m sorry to his teachers, but you spend enough time with him to get it.
  • I don’t cry in front of the kids. Not to teach them a lesson about holding your emotions in, because I think that’s unhealthy. It’s because they can sense that weakness to destroy you. It is my job to destroy them not the other way around.
  • I promise things to my kids as a reward for their good behavior. The thing is… they are already going to get it but this way I can make them do chores without complaining. You’d be surprised how well this works.
  • I sneak their PopTarts and then when they complain about someone else eating them, I point out how much they mindlessly eat food all day long and eventually they remember eating them. I don’t like PopTarts, but sometimes  you need something sweet with your morning coffee.
  • I let my husband win the rare fights that we have. Not because I think I’m supposed to be submissive. Not because I’m the better person, because I’m definitely not. But because I know that I can hold it over him in the long run when I really need it. A successful marriage is about the long game.
  • I don’t negotiate with terrorists. You want to throw a tantrum to get what you want, call grandma. It isn’t happening here.
  • I am the God of the house. By that I mean, I can and will steal the router and make them suffer.
  • I view parenting as a very minor case of psychological warfare. I know their weaknesses and I’m not afraid to use them. That’s right, it goes both ways.

Remember, it’s fine. Don’t let other people tell you how to live your life. You’re not perfect and that’s perfectly ok.

 

Overwatch League: Stage 4, Week 3

This week in OWL didn’t really offer many surprises as one would have hoped for the week. Boston is still winless in this stage, though they did nearly win against the Spitfire. Shanghai is still winless for the entire season. NYXL is still the top team, though Valiant beat them on the tiebreaker map to keep their undefeated stage alive. Fuel is also still on fire, which I’m going to credit partially to Mickie being just an amazing Brigitte. Brigitte has shown to be a huge shakeup to teams, since those who can play her well do great while the ones who can’t seem defenseless against her.

Boston has had a really tough stage so far. The best match they have played so far was against the Spitfire, where they tied on a map and fought hard to stay alive. It wasn’t enough though despite pouring everything they had into those matches. The one great thing to come out of them this week? They finally have their first win on Hanamura. Progress? Maybe, but as much as I’d love to see Shanghai finally win one I really don’t want to be the team they win against. And the way Boston has been playing and the way Shanghai performed against Houston, they may actually beat us. I’m conflicted about how I feel about that.

The playoffs for the stage and the post-season are coming very soon. Boston needs to figure it out because I want the analysts to say that they were wrong about them. They did when they were winning but now they seemed to have written last stage off as a fluke. We need a better coach. Losing Crusty was obviously rough on the team, both in playing and for morale reasons. And where’s Neko? Are they saving him for the playoffs if they get in? Does he just need a break? I can’t help but to wonder if his experience in the league could be more beneficial to us right now. I am happy that Mistakes seems to be doing well on Brigitte, so maybe things will turn around soon. This team obviously still has talent; they just need to figure it out.

This will be a great finish to an eventful inaugural season. I’ll miss it when it’s over, but soon football will be back and I can be happy again.

Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 2

It is nearing closer to the end of the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The playoffs are coming and it is going to be a race to the finish for some teams as this new meta seems to be a difficult one for some of our stronger competitors. NYXL has already clinched the top spot in the post-season, which comes as no surprise to anyone. This is a brief look at this week in the Overwatch League.

There are currently 4 teams that are winless in this stage: Seoul Dynasty, Boston Uprising, Shanghai Dragons, and the Florida Mayhem. Surprisingly though, Shanghai isn’t in dead last thanks to the win differentials in this stage, but they have yet to get a win overall this season. This is a bit surprising, especially since Geguri finally has the opportunity this stage to show off her amazing Zarya skills. However, this is proof that one person can’t win an Overwatch match. The team still has a lot of issues to work out, which I hope they do because I want to see Geguri succeed in the league.

Seoul is still struggling this stage, unable to get a win so far. This mighty team has certainly fallen since the early estimates of being a top contender for the championship prior to the league starting. This is a group of solid players that doesn’t seem to be holding up as well as their skill should be. Unrelated note, Fleta for Uprising?

Speaking of my favorite team, this stage is not going well for these underdogs. Despite shocking everyone by coming in 2nd place in Stage 3, they are struggling hard this stage. Last week was their most impressive showing, forcing LA Valiant into a tiebreaker. What happened to this team? Crusty being gone definitely hurt them, but there’s more to it than that. This is their weakest map pool and they still haven’t figured out how to beat Brigitte. I don’t take any of these as excuses though. A good coach would have helped them figure it out by now, rather than watching the team drown. We need a new coach badly. So badly. It’s hard watching this team that works so hard and puts everything out there just to watch them crash and burn. It’s especially demoralizing when the experts talk about how last stage was a fluke or at least now the team is where they expected them to be. They can still pull this out and hopefully get themselves a spot in the post-season.