What’s Left for the Losers?

Kabir Vega Castellanos

Photo: Emmy Park

HAVANA TIMES — With the first LCD (Cuban DotA League) kicking off in early September, it is finally coming to an end after a long period of time and interruptions.

On Saturday December 23rd, teams “Pirates Gaming” and “Big Monkeys” will have a face-off in the final stage of the competition. The latter had lost in the semi-finals, but, even though it had been put in the loser category by the Piratas themselves, it managed to redeem itself and earn the right to not only ask for a rematch but to reclaim the winning title of the entire tournament.

Fans who have loyally attended every day of the tournament are anxiously awaiting the grand finale and betting on the best players, in their respective positions, in the meantime.

In order to emphasize the upcoming event, short interviews have even been published on Facebook and the internet with the captains of the three best teams in the tournament.

But, what about the teams who were left behind? After playing two or at most three games, they were eliminated and sent to be forgotten in anonymity.

Nobody thinks about the losers unless they personally know them or have established some kind of relationship with them, whether that’s as a rival or friend. People are only speculating who the winning team will be to share their joy and forgetting the burden that being number one implies at the same time.

Of course, this isn’t the 8th International DotA League nor is the future of players, who dedicate almost all of their time to training in something that lots of people are still hesitant to call “sport”, on the line here.

Cuban players are only just beginning to earn a space that will take decades to become consolidated to the degree it is in China where the State itself gives players accommodation and food so they can dedicate themselves solely to training in videogames.

But, like all confrontations, defeat will always be bitter and justice relative. I find myself asking why everything that is interesting needs to be competitive and so exclusive.

I myself had forgotten the LCD’s original idea that they made known at the beginning of the tournament. According to them, the proposal was that amateur teams that lost in the beginning wouldn’t be kicked out of the tournament but be moved to a Category B. The concept was fun and encouraging as many participants just wanted to play and have a good time, a detail that has been forgotten as the competition progressed. The opportunity to have a friendly match and to share the experience with other fans of their favorite game was both motivation and compensation.

Within the traditional framework of winner/loser, the result is to be hailed for a victory that is always temporary, it doesn’t matter how long it lasts. Many conflicts and personal frustrations stem from this focus and the real sporting spirit is lost. In people’s desperation to win, even seemingly solid friendships crack.

Maybe the initial idea of establishing different categories and each one of these having their own tournament was a little too ambitious on the organizers’ part and they couldn’t keep this going because of logistical issues. However, it’s sad because there are people who want to see friendly matches between teams, who don’t live just to win.

Kabir Vega

I am a young man whose development in life has not been what many might consider normal or appropriate, but I don’t regret it. Although I am very reserved, I dissent strongly from many things. I believe that society, and not only of Cuba, is wrong and needs to change. I love animals sometimes even more than myself since they lack evil. I am also a fan of the world of Otaku. I started in Havana Times because it allowed me to tell some experiences and perhaps encourage some change in my country. I may be naive in my arguments, but I am true to my principles.