About the Author
Fuel is a medical student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland by day, and a prominent commentator, tournament organizer, and community leader for the Smash scene in New Brunswick, Canada by night. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Smash New Brunswick community online at http://www.facebook.com/groups/hubcitysmash. Smash New Brunswick streams weekly on Thursday/Friday/Saturday at http://www.twitch.tv/smashnb.
When eight people showed up for the first Smash tournament I ever organized and five people showed up the week after, I was ready to quit.
After spending a month planning and organizing, asking more experienced TOs for advice, preparing the venue, acquiring a stream setup, and working the social media angles, I figured I had it in the bag. I knew what would work and what wouldn’t. I had backup equipment prepared for every possible accident. The one thing I hadn’t prepared for was the possibility that no one would show up.
After handing the tournament champion his grand prize of $5 in psychedelic Canadian space money, I felt discouraged. It seemed like I had put so much effort into something that I wanted desperately to work, only to discover that it either didn’t work as well as I had hoped or others didn’t share my dream.
The dream, of course, was to “be eSports now.” In the past few months, there have been a fair number of posts on both Melee It On Me and r/smashbros about how to build up local communities, and being from a fairly small community in Atlantic Canada, these articles really resonated with me. In most matters, my home province of New Brunswick has always been the sleepy, boring cousin to its industrious neighbour, Nova Scotia, and to the merry northern island of Newfoundland, and Smash is no exception. Halifax, Nova Scotia is not only Atlantic Canada’s largest city, but it also has the largest Smash community in the region, drawing over fifty or sixty people to its monthlies. You would think that the b’ys up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, who are isolated from the rest of Atlantic Canada not only by distance but also by a prodigious amount of water, would be struggling to build up their community, but they’re currently attracting over forty people to their PM weeklies (even just for friendlies!) and over fifty players to their monthly tournaments. New Brunswick, by comparison, was struggling to reach half those numbers during the first half of 2014, and our events occurred far less frequently. Continue reading