Ultimate Insight 2 : Ben Gold
1) You're currently on your second paid trip overseas for Smash. Did you ever think you'd reach this point? What do you think your ceiling is now?

> When I first joined the scene I always believed I could be the best in Queensland, not sure if it was naivety or raw passion but straight out the gate my goal was to eventually beat Jaice and Jezmo, the two players to beat in queensland smash when I first joined. I never really thought about getting the opportunity to compete internationally let alone be flown out to do so, meanwhile I’ve lucked out with that offer being extended to me twice now. Travelling to the US is both sobering and humbling, you can feel like a big shot in Australia to find out you’re one of many in the US, it’s like being the best out of your mates only to come to a local and come last place all over again. That said, I think I have the ability to reach new heights in my gameplay and my outlook at smash with these incredible opportunities and some hard work. For me right now the main struggle is finding it within myself to make that big push and try to break through that ceiling and into a level of play beyond what I know. I consider myself within the top 10-15 range in Australia but that simply doesn’t cut it especially when you’re looking to make a breakthrough internationally. I think I have it in me to be the best in Australia but if I want to keep travelling to the US or took it super seriously I should aim higher than that, which I think I can do.

2) What do you think Australia could learn from these international events to improve how our tournaments are run and presented?

> US events and Australian events are completely different animals but there is a process especially at 2GG events that it would be great to eventually work toward, which I think is fairly in line with what CouchWarriors is currently aiming to get to. In the US with so many attendees events like doubles almost always run on the Friday which we never really see or need to do in Australia. Again with so many players something like 2GG can be so successful with hundreds of attendees throughout the week all paying venue fee which 2GG puts back into equipment, events and so on. Currently, CouchWarriors in Queensland does this at one event a month with around 100-150 attendees, so our ability to invest in equipment is naturally more limited. The setup that 2GG has here is a completely self sufficient operation of something like 60 switches and monitors I saw tonight, with plenty staff calling matches in their pools over megaphones and a ‘station number’ to go to which are placed next to each and every setup. Very well ran, organised and leaves no room for people to have to find matches themselves or dawdling in the process.

I think a problem the Australian scene and their events are facing right now is visibility. We’ve all moved away from Twitter and moreso Facebook with our online presence mostly being holed away in a hard to find discord these days. Most big US events are plastered everywhere on Twitter and Facebook and not just confined to a community discord so the word gets out a lot better. In a smaller and more tight-knit community like Australia word gets around really easily but I think we could definitely work on the visibility of our events more which is an issue Shitashi has been concerned of and has tried to address with ausmash.com.au. I think we would all do well to be more active here and support it to make our online presence stronger.

3) What are some of your most memorable experiences that Smash has given you? Whether it be within a tournament setting or alongside others that you've met through the scene.

> I feel like there are so many memorable moments from my experience in smash that it’s impossible to count, both as a competitive player and even under social settings with all the friends I’ve made. I’ve definitely had some bad memories like the ‘incident’ at one of my first events or when I tried running one to help out early on in my time in smash. I have a lot of passion for the growth of the scene but perhaps running events isn’t quite what I’m suited to. That said, anything from my first tournament, UQ15 to taking my first PR win and having to train home for 4 hours afterwards at Smash By The Beach, all the way to winning BAM this year which was both unfathomable for a player like myself, but also a historic win for Queensland too, being our first major win, at least all throughout Smash 4 and Ultimate, possibly longer.

That last one though is connected to something much larger and a greater part about the Australian scene which is the major experience. It took me over a year and a half to travel to my first major, Expand Gong 2 and I’ll never forget it. I just made PR for the first time that weekend and I finished up around 17th out of 120, tieing for highest placing Queensland with Seymour Butts who was also PR at the time. That’s really when I got hooked on the drug that is interstate rivalry and travelling with mates to these great where I’ve had so much fun, made lots of friends from other scenes and met so many new people. Not to sound cheesy or anything but simply being in the smash community has been such an unforgettable and amazing experience that even when one day I’ll find it’s time to move on I’ll always keep it close to my heart and hopefully stay in contact with all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. I always find it a shame when somebody quits and stops all contact with everyone they’ve known for the last few years, I understand for some people it’s only one small social aspect of their lives and not a priority at all but I’m just so invested in the smash world and the scene I find it a real shame to have people leave and never see them again.

4) With a Twitter following of over 2000 people you've become one of the faces of Australian Smash. How has this impacted on how you conduct yourself both in person and online?

> I don’t know how I’ve got 2,000 poor souls to endure my awful tweets but here we are. I don’t think it’s made me conduct myself in a particular way (for better or for worse), I should probably look at restraining myself sometimes when I think of something to tweet, but I’d like to think that’s half the reason they all follow me. I’m not exactly the most Esports person out there and Shitashi has given me a bit of lip about my antics and online presence, especially with my real name plastered all over it. But I think I come off as genuine and just posting what I think about things or something I find funny that comes to my mind. When it comes to my online and personal presence I want to be as approachable and personable as I can be. I don’t want new people to be afraid to ask for friendlies or talk to me or get the idea that they’re not worth my time. I started out in a scene that felt that way when I joined and it took a lot of effort and hard work to get rid of that culture to create a more supportive and better smash scene, both competitively and socially. I think Queensland’s in the best spot its been in years and I want to try to keep it that way as best I can.

5) If you could give one piece of advice to players trying to break through to their next level what would it be?

> If there was one piece of advice I’d give to people who are trying to break into that next level, it’s to make sure you’re having fun. Too many times have people tried to get really good and ended up hating the game and themselves, their character etc because they’ve tried to get results at the expense of having any fun. A common piece of advice is to ‘play lame’ which I’ve touched on in some tweets before which I think is surface level ‘correct’ but removes the strategy and the appreciation of the depth of the game which is super important to have when learning, improving and simply playing the game. Getting great at the game is a good goal to strive toward but its all about how you get there. Self reflection is really important and keeping the game fun as a healthy means of motivation to keep playing are more important than simply getting results. If you’re ever hitting a wall or finding yourself not having fun, try to think about why that is and what you can do to remedy it, perhaps a new outlook on the game and how you play is in order.


Ben Gold has chosen to spotlight the Twitter profile of Sweens! Give her a follow if you're interested in seeing some cool art, cute stuff and some fun opinions. And of course it's the best way to get access to embarrassing photos of Ben before they hit the big time. https://twitter.com/Sweensi

by Mittens 12/09/2019 00:00:00

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