My First Esports Tournament – 2024 Spring ESL in Dallas

For years, I’ve been an avid esports fan, cheering on my favorite players from the comfort of my couch. But this year, something exciting happened. I finally took the plunge and attended ESL Dallas, primarily to witness the thrill of StarCraft 2 live.

While the heart-pounding matches were everything I’d hoped for (seriously, the strategic genius on display!), what truly surprised me was the incredible atmosphere. The energy from the crowd was electric, and the sense of community was contagious. I found myself surrounded by fellow StarCraft enthusiasts, swapping strategies, sharing laughs, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

But the highlight of the event wasn’t just the games or the camaraderie – it was the chance to meet some of my esports heroes. I managed to snag autographs and even have brief conversations with some of the casters and players I’ve admired for years. It was a surreal experience, and their genuine passion for the game only solidified my own.

ESL Dallas was far more than just watching StarCraft 2. It was a journey of connection, shared experiences, and a newfound appreciation for the amazing esports community. If you’ve ever considered attending an esports event, but haven’t quite pulled the trigger, I urge you to take the leap. You might just surprise yourself with the friendships and memories you create.

Early Access

As a Harry Potter fan, playing Hogwarts Legacy was a dream come true. I remember reading the first book over 15 years ago, and now being able to immerse myself in the wizarding world and attend Hogwarts was an experience like no other. The game was set in the 1800s, so it felt like a new chapter in the wizarding world, but at the same time, it was nostalgic, as I recognized some of the characters and places from the original books and movies.

I was so excited for the release of Hogwarts Legacy that purchased the deluxe edition, which was supposed to give 72 hours of early access. I was so excited that I even woke up a day earlier than the steam date. I would have to wait another 24 hours to play… The next day, I woke up at the same time, and my wife thought I was a bit crazy for waking up so early to play a game. But for me, it was worth it to finally experience the magic of Hogwarts Legacy.

The Best Parts

The game did an excellent job of balancing the nostalgic and new aspects, making it feel like an entirely new experience while still feeling familiar. The graphics were stunning, and the attention to detail was impressive. Walking through Hogwarts felt like walking through the castle in the movies, and the magical creatures and spells were brought to life in a way that was truly magical.

One of my favorite aspects of the game was how mature it felt. The storyline was complex, and the characters had depth, which made it feel like an adult game. It reminded me of one of my more recently found favorite games, The Witcher 3. The combat system was fluid and challenging, and there was a real sense of danger in the game. I appreciated that the game wasn’t dumbed down for a younger audience.

The Let Downs

However, there were some disappointments. Despite the game allowing you to make decisions, it often felt like the choices I made didn’t have much of an impact on the overall story. I had hoped that I could create my own legacy in the wizarding world, but it felt limited. This was a bit of a letdown, as I was hoping for more replay value.

Additionally, one of my biggest disappointments was not being able to become the heir of Slytherin and unleash the Basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets. While I understand that this would have been a controversial storyline, it would have been interesting to see how it played out in the game. I had even named my character “Raze Ash-Lairs” which, similar to Tom Marvolo Riddle is an anagram – Slytherin’s Heir. 


Despite these disappointments, I played the game passionately for 36 hours in about a week, completing all of the main quests and roughly 80% of the side quests. Overall, Hogwarts Legacy was a great game that any Harry Potter fan should play. It was nostalgic yet felt new, mature, and played like one of my favorite games, The Witcher 3. While it had its flaws, it was a great addition to the wizarding world, and I’m excited to see where the game goes in the future.

Story – 9
Gameplay – 9
Music – 10
Visuals – 9
Overall – 9

In November 2020 I decided it was time to tackle a goal I always had wanted to try: Learning the Piano. I don’t think there could have been a better time, partially locked down with COVID, plenty of time at home, working from home. These are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind. These are the memoirs of a maestro.

Why did I want to play piano? Linking back to what drives me, my goals and then plans:

Looking back on this now, I think the links are quite weak, which is why with sadness I admit that Piano defeated me. I gave up, I quit.

But Why?

I like must be black or white with everything I do. For most of the important things I do in life, I’ll subconsciously have thought why I am doing something. For example; why buy a house? Investment opportunity, stability, making commitments and building a life with my future wife (at the time), etc. Once you throw together the pro / con list, you should be able to make a decision that you resonate with.

When I signed myself up to piano, I thought that I would enjoy it due to my ‘understanding what drives you’. The more I played the more I really started to understand about myself ‘you are more likely to enjoy things you are good at’. I enjoy listening to good classical style music however when I stepped up to the piano, it was just a hot mess of keys and sounded awful. The most frustrating part of all though was even if I practiced every day for a month. If I missed just 2-3 days without training, I would forget it all and be back at square one.

After losing basically all the minimal progress a few times, I’d lost the motivation to continue. I realised that I would never have the motivation to commit thousands of hours into something I was so bad at and not making progress. It was too hard and makes me respect how these pros can play so well, songs 10,000 times harder than what I was struggling with.

Ross & Kaworu Playing Evangelion's Cruel Angel's Thesis

So what now?

It’s not like I’m gaining heaps of time back (maximum 30 minutes per day). But some projects myself and Kel have been thinking upon;

  • Planning a move to Hong Kong
  • Setting up an official training schedule (done)
  • More blog posts
  • Editing / creating memories and video content
  • Getting back into languages
    • Getting decent at Japanese again or;
    • Chinese (Mandarin)

Home is not static but a transient thing that can change depending on your current place. Although for some people, there might only be a single home, some people have multiple and it’s not a single thing. For me, I have 2 homes; 

  1. Where I live now with my perfect wife and;
  2. Home, home aka My parent’s house where I spent the first 19 years of my life in Tamworth, NSW

Sometimes I look back through my photos and videos and notice that where I spent 99% of my time at home 1 or 2, I have the least amount of footage. The large amount of my collection comes from travel and trips away from my regular living place. I think this is such a shame because as soon as your home starts to shift and you move away from it you’re missing a lot of these nostalgic places because at the time you were living there the thinking is like “oh well, I live here so I can see and do that whenever I want”. But then you might never end up making the memories or any footage

With this revelation I spent some time in my home 2 ensuring I can capture some footage so I can easily remember these important places in my life.

Compiling My Home Movies

Tamworth Bike Ride 2021

Tamworth Trail Running - Flagstaff Mountain

Tamworth - My Favourite Childhood Tree

Tamworth - Old Rugby Videos

Coming soon…. Home 2

I never had planned to build a website let alone do it. Every year (for the last maybe 10 years) I’ve set my goals or as most people know them new years resolutions within the start of January. This year was like any other where i had them split into long and short.

Placeholder link – writing goals

On there for 2021 was the usual get fit, Run this, start that, etc. Only after I started chasing on of them – running events did my goal expand into this beast of starting a website and blog.

See the quote above from one of my favourite Anime: Hunter x Hunter 2011. “You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want”. I understand this as, even though you may have goals, sometimes the side tracks are where you really find meaning to the goals. 

It all came about as I was training for my link: 50k ultra first lumberjack, where mid-way into a 40K run I thought this is amazing, I want to:
1. Notes for my own records
2. Share my learnings with a wider audience and hope to inspire

For me personally, when you’re out there running for up to 6 hours alone with a flat set of earphones, you have a lot of time to thing (Link to: Japan Bike Tour). So many things are going through your mind but there’s no way to write them all down. 

For me personally, I want to be able to look back at my life and easily see what I’ve done. Not dissimilar to a diary or scrapbook but in a digital and interactive format. I want to see my triumphs, failures and stagnations. Learn from this and go forward.

Leading into the 2nd part, when listing all of these learning, why not share the learnings I have with a wider audience. I always thought things like the school curriculum and life lessons you learn to be almost irrelevant in shaping someone into a future success. Hopefully my way of living “live the life you want to live / live your own life / You are accountable for your own happiness” will inspire others to seek better in their own lives. My wife has taken this own board and just (as of 20/04/2021) posted her newest PB for a park run 29 minutes which she largely attributes to my enthusiasm for running and other hobbies motivating her to get out there.

Finding this website as a detour on my life path has inspired me to further mature and pass on whatever wisdom I can.