I remember having a hard time knowing what to say.
It was Thanksgiving, and my family surrounded the slick dining table with their eyes locked on the 8-year-old version of me. Their stares were not condescending, just eager to get my reply out of the way.
My mom had asked us to name three things that we were thankful for before chowing down on the buffet of turkey and stuffing laid out before us. I was the last one to go, and all the good answers had been taken.
It was a perilous exercise, really. Just busywork before the big meal, but my little noggin went static.
As a family, we all just wanted to throw the reason for the season out the window and lather some mashed potatoes in gravy, but we had to at least verbalize some gratitude as some sort of penance. Resistance was futile; I had to say something before we could move on.
I don’t remember what I said to get the spotlight off me. I’m sure my parents guided me toward some things to be thankful for, but I can’t forget the bottomless cavern that replaced my mind went when it was my turn to share.
Now, nearly 15 years later, I can’t help but wonder about my lack of gratitude again. Listless complaints filter into my mind far more easily than genuine expressions of gratitude. A lot of the conversations I have with my wife and coworkers center on venting frustration.
At times it feels like frustration is a natural state. I guess that’s what Thanksgiving is for. It offers a break from the monotony of negativity and reminds us that there’s plenty of good in our lives, too.
So, I guess to shake the spirit of toxicity, and in the spirit of the holiday, I’m going to write a shortlist of people/things I’m grateful for in the world of Rocket League.
1. Flip Resets
I don’t think we realize how much Psyonix raised Rocket League’s skill ceiling when they added flip resets into the infamous Neo Tokyo update.
Flip resets unlocked variety in the player’s approach to aerial play. Instead of just being able to air dribble or shoot, players could flip upside down, catch the ball on their wheels and use the dodge that they gain to hit the ball again.
It made defending more difficult, which leads to more goals, and everybody likes more goals. Especially ones like these:
How did we not foresee Jack “FlamE” Pearton becoming a top-flight player? He was doing stuff like that in the Rival Series and I thought his team would go 0-7. Oof.
This boxy beast is so beautiful that it got me to actually buy keys for the first time in a long while. There’s something so ‘70s about it, and it’s an incredibly versatile car.
There’s so much potential for creativity. I’m terrible at car design, but look at this crappy Stormwatch build I made:
It has the octane hitbox and can even manage to make toppers look good. What more can you ask for?
I use Liquipedia for everything. Seriously, I’ve spent hours clicking through the archives, meticulously hoping to fact check stores and leave them without any errors. Nothing gets past Reddit commenters (no disrespect, thanks for reading).
None of that would be possible without Lukasz. He’s 17-years-old and can single-handedly run an entire database for nearly every Rocket League event ever.
Psyonix is not very good about keeping things updated on their end, and Lukasz has filled that void well. When I was reporting from WSOE several workers mentioned how convenient it was to just send their updates his way.
Obviously I don’t know how the entire Liquipedia dynamic works, but my man has been putting in long hours for a very selfless purpose. I hope he wants to be my friend because that kid is going places.
4.10 Team Leagues
The Rival Series’ expansion went as smooth as butter, and really created some interesting storylines toward the end of the season.
Season 8 of the Championship Series was the most unexpected thing to ever happen, but imagine all of that drama with two more series played by each team. The season is too short and the breaks between competitive events when DreamHacks aren’t available sucks.
That’s why I’m a huge fan of Psyonix’s plan to expand the premier division to ten teams in Season 9. Afterthought, RBG Esports, AS Monaco and Disombobulators are RLCS-quality teams that could make some noise in their first promoted season.
It also speaks to the growth of the game and how hard promoting through the Promotion Playoff is. Veloce Esports needed a miracle to get called up from the Rival Series, and they finished second in League Play.
It means more teams, more weeks of League Play and less empty weekends spent flipping around meaningless college football games. Count me in.
5. Rocket League Memes
Call it a generational thing, but I would much rather scroll through memes than do just about anything. I’m a fan of particularly niche memes, and r/RocketLeagueEsports and Rocket League Twitter never fail to disappoint.
Let’s do a short episode of meme review with three that made me chuckle.
The Women Yelling at Cat format is probably the strongest one to gain popularity in 2019, but my favorite part about it is that it comes from a 2011 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. My mom watched that show a lot, and it brings back some great memories.
Poor, Niels “Nielskoek” Kok. The man finally made it back to RLCS and got dropped. Andy “Kassio” Landais has been excellent this season, so Veloce clearly made the right choice, but that left Nielskoek on the outside looking in. Hopefully, he’s a good sport about it.
Courtesy of @NishChahar on Twitter
Dion “Base” Rees-Harris posted this meme patting himself on the back for making RLCS again as a manager for RBG and Nish just destroyed our man.
The photoshopping of Obama’s hand is the extra level of detail I love in a meme. My favorite part is how all three pictures of Base are exactly the same across both memes.
This meme was from last week’s Meme Mond- er, Meme Day, and the volta here is of Lord Byron level proportions. Poetry jokes.
I know plenty of RL friends who would have no idea how to interpret this meme, and it’s the exact kind of reckless specificity I live for.
Thibault “Chausette45” Grezesiak has the best nickname in the game, hands down to me. It just fits him so well and it has a lot of potential uses in memes like the one we see above.
So go friends, and be thankful for what the Rocket League gods have given us. I love this game, and if my mom asks me what things I’m thankful for this year, I’ll have a lot more to say.
Featured image courtesy of u/Jfonzy on Reddit.
Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.
“From Our Haus to Yours”