Our mumble drew silent the moment he entered the channel; dflame, the legend, the MGE all-star himself was here, in our mumble, about to play for my team!
I could feel myself starting to sweat, anticipation rising in my blood. I nervously opened a chat window with my medic. It took a few tries, my hands were shaking, I could barely control my usually nimble fingers. Finally I managed to type out the sentence. "This is it. We have to impress him, our TF2 careers are on the line."
Not wanting to show my true emotions, I took a few heavy breaths before trying to make my voice seem deep and important. "Hey dflame, thanks for ringing." I let out a sigh of relief the moment my finger left my talk key. This was it, it was actually happening! He said nothing in return, his stoic silence reassuring the team that he was here for our benefit, not his; and boy were we grateful.
The match began, and the mid rollout was called. Our regular scout made his call for where he was going, and dlfame needed no instruction; he simply processed this information along with every other bit he picked up one, from the time left on the map to the ever-changing sensitivity of his mouse. By the time the midfight was over, we were giddy with confidence. dflame had yet to secure a kill, but I was sure it was just because he was serving the team the points, calculating every distance, his endless hours in MGE mod allowing him to know precisely when to stop shooting an opponent and let a teammate pick up a kill.
When we reached the second point, dflame valiantly ran ahead, throwing himself into the enemy's last point alone, willing to take on the hard work while the rest of us sat back and capped. I nearly wept at his bravery, his willingness to carry such a lowly open team as ours.
Suddenly, though, things would change. Something went wrong with dflame's plan; he died without killing all six of them, without killing even one of them, and there was a shrill voice in mumble, explaining what happened. It must have been the lag, it must have been! This stupid server, with its terrible routing to him! How dare we bring him to a server that gives him such a terrible ping! Why oh why did we pick the server that wouldn't register his shot at the most crucial moment!
I was scared. His loud, angry speech in mumble worried me, it felt directed at me. I could feel the rage, the hatred penetrating our mumble, I nearly broke down in tears of a different kind from earlier. We had failed him. I should have been there, I should have left the control point to take the shot for him, to eat up the bullets while he did his job, I should have helped him when the game wouldn't. He promptly left the server and mumble both, after a long string of swear words. I was speechless. We politely "gg"'d the enemy team and excused ourselves from the scrim. It was over. How could we have come so close and let victory slip through our very fingerS?
I cried for so long that night. I couldn't help it. I had failed to impress, to even be tolerable for him. dflame, I am sorry, I am so sorry. I never should have let you play for such a low team. I never should have disappointed you. Please forgive me and my team, we will never bother you again.