I have told a couple of stories about solo queue over the past couple weeks, but this week’s story tops all of them. A little over a year ago I was playing a ranked game with Austen, our esports guy. It was around the time that Xin Zhao got some major buffs, previous to his now released rework.
I hate Xin Zhao, or at least I did before his changes. As a result, I was more than eager to get him off the board. Like a idiot who wasn’t paying enough attention during champion select, I banned him as usual. A moment or two later I looked down in chat to see that someone was screaming at me. Turns out, I had encountered a Xin Zhao main (which apparently exists).
He immediately went after me, asking why I would ban a champion like that and threw all sorts of insults my way. I apologized, explained that it wasn’t intentional and just a force of habit. He wasn’t having it and went mostly silent for the rest of champion select.
He grabbed Ahri (he was a Jungler, in case that wasn’t obvious) and told me this was “all your fault.” Whenever I would try and speak to him (which I should have just shut up at some point), he would say this loss was on me and then go silent again. I picked up Lux for the mid lane, as that was the role I was given.
When we loaded in, I wasn’t as shocked to see him come mid with me as I was frustrated. I had hoped that he was all talk, but he was more of a “do-er” than I expected. No matter where I went, or what I did, he would follow me and mess with me. Occasionally he would berate me, letting me know that this was still all my doing.
Ahri would only leave my side to sacrifice herself to the other team. Other than that, when I went mid, he went mid. When I tried to CS, he would do anything he could to fix it. If I left to go to another lane, he would follow. If I backed, so would he. He was resigned to be my shadow, and wouldn’t let me forget that if I didn’t ban Xin, he wouldn’t have done this at all.
Of course we lost.
I was devastated.
I knew it wasn’t really my fault. Sure I should have been more cautious and all that, but this guy clearly had some issue. To this day, he is the most toxic player I have ever seen in a game. He wasn’t content to make us lose, he would not rest until he knew that I felt like shit. I sulked the rest of the night.
Not to get too down, but having other humans treat you like garbage will happen a lot in your life. It happens to everyone and it always sucks. However, while someone may try to bring your down, it is you who decides how you take it. Nobody should treat you the way that guy treated me, but I decided to let him get to me. I let him win.
As I was writing this and letting Austen read over it, he had to remind me that my teammates were nothing but supportive to me. Everyone reported the Ahri and nobody blamed me for his mistake. This should be a nice memory for me, where good teammates came together to ban some jerk, but I don’t remember it. All I can see from that game is the crushing sadness I felt when everyone else lost LP because of me.
Fighting back against people like that, yelling at them, begging them to stop, it does nothing. Those people, for one reason or another, find it more fun to be hated by an entire team than to cooperate with them. I think that sucks. Riot thinks that sucks. Most people think that sucks. Just think of the good times you have had with good people and let that one, rare, shitty game wash over you.
Even as I give this advice, I know how hard it is for me to actually do. I really struggle with not letting jerks get to me and I am far more likely to just get mad or sulk. When I look back on it, I know that it was one game in the thousands and thousands that I have played. If you group all my solo queue horror stories into one it will still only be a speck on the slate of great games I have had.
League is a cooperative game and some people suck. We play because the moments where we all come together are beautiful. But we have to try and brush off the bad that occasionally comes with the good. I remember this game far better than any of the good games I have ever had. That may be sad, but I will never forget how that player made me feel and I will not let it happen again.