You all know the guy i’m talking about. The guy you are fighting in top lane who announces, 15 minutes into your game, that he has won your lane and that you are trash.
You kept up with him in CS, you’re tired, and you are regretting that you went with Nidalee at this time of night, but you do not feel that you have lost your lane. You got an assist on first blood, and a second kill, but that is because your jungler “camped top all day,” and now this “gentleman” has declared you to be “trash” and is coming to take your turret. The fact that his ADC has come top to help him doesn’t make you any less trash.
At this point in the game, I was tempted to tell him off. I was tempting to declare, for all to hear, that the lane was even, I wasn’t trash and things were going to turn around. But I’ve written about this before. I know that all chat is just another excuse to distract yourself from the task at hand. All chat is the place you go when you can’t make a difference, and I was going to make a difference.
I gave up the turret easily enough, but dropped something even more important – pings. As I kite my way backwards, throwing javelins as I go, I see the first of my teammates begin to arrive. It is time to fight. No more poking with spears, into the top tribush I pounce, swiping away at anyone who comes near. Miss Fortune vanishes, too slow to realize she has come too far and is low enough health that my Takedown destroys her. Jax doesn’t realize the fight is lost. He moves to confront me, but I have built a Warmogs and I am far too tanky for him to burst down. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Jax, and my team destroys him.
Olaf, who moments before declared for all that I was trash, has come charging in with Jax. With the important targets gone, I turn my attention to him. My damage, reinforced by my team’s, is far too much for him to handle. As the rest of his team gets cleaned out of the tribush, he has been running. This top lane tough guy now doesn’t want to be anywhere near me. As my team surges out of the top tribush, Olaf has already been running towards the top bushes. He thinks he might be safe, as my team heads left towards the enemy turret, but I am not done.
My bushwhack reveals the left bush. Seeing nothing, I immediately fire a Javelin into the right bush to see if I can spook my prey. Had he stayed still, Olaf may yet have lived. He did not stay still. He runs right, moving out of the top bush and up the lane, past my destroyed turret. He has enough distance that he may be able to make it into our jungle and freedom, if he were fighting anyone else. I am Nidalee. I am the player who is trash. I am the player who has lost my lane and doesn’t even belong on the same field as this guy. I am not going to let him escape.
The distance between us vanishes. With each pounce I grow closer. He darts into the bush above double golems and makes one last hard juke to the left. If I let him go, my team may catch him. But this chase has become personal. I am hurting no one on my team. I am leaving no objectives to waste, and I see that Olaf is prepared to die – but not to me. I have always loved a good Nid javelin. Tonight, I was tired. I had not been aiming my Javelins well. This latest one flies from Nidalee as my heartbeat goes up, and Olaf goes down.
My team moves on to the top turret. Olaf had dared me to take it, when I was trash, and now we do. His team proceeds to throw themselves at us and die in ones and twos under the turret. Silly fights. Unimportant fights. Fights that I win for us, because I am tanky and the damage is done. For one glorious instance, I have been able to use a Nidalee javelin to take down all that I hate in this game.
When the Olaf continued to call me trash, despite my 10-0-5 score, I didn’t even bother to reply. He continued to insist that he won his lane, and I just felt bad for his teammates who he was likely blaming for the loss. If I was smug, I was only smug for one or two sentences of text. I had objectives to help my team to take. I had an ADC to feed and protect, and when all of that was finally done, I said my good games and I wished the other team the best heading forward.
I am in no way trying to tell you that I am some kind of saint. I am not always humble, nor do I always avoid the temptation of all chat. What I want you to share in is the idea that you can focus on playing your own game, you can play your own game better and you can make a difference for your team.
I want you to hunger for and taste the same kind of sweet victory over the dark side of League of Legends that I did, even if only for a moment. I was the player who was trash. I became the player who made a difference, and won the game.