Extra Life 2012

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$1114 dollars raised over a 48-hour marathon at Extra Life 2012.

A personal reflection on Extra Life 2012 by Bob, GodOfMoogles

How Extra Life Changed My Life For The Better

Putting it bluntly: My life is sorta shit right now. I’ve been stressed, anxious, and depressed quite frequently lately, on a level I haven’t been to in many years. I’ve always suffered from a lot of self-doubt and depression throughout my life, and people that know me know I’m prone to fits of severe sadness and despair. I’ve never been one to rise about having no self-esteem, suicidal thoughts (and yes, attempts) or feeling completely helpless. But I’ve always managed to get past it and move on. And after Extra Life, I’ve learned what it was that got me through it all.

I’ve always been someone that’s put a lot of value in human connection. I love conversation, meeting people, and seeing what people can do. I love learning things about people. And more than anything else? I love laughing with people.

You can say a lot of things about what happened during Extra Life. The insane (and unexpected) success and how much we raised is truly staggering, but when I look back it, that’s not what ended up sticking as much. What really hit me was HOW we did that.

Me and Anthony are, when you get right down to it, two nerdy 20-somethings that love video games. We’ve never considered ourselves heroes, or the most amazing people out there. We suffer from a lot of humility, which sometimes turns into self-deprecation, which sometimes turns into people trying to tell us we’re better than we say we are. And that’s just it: people say that. People tell us we’re too hard on our abilities, on ourselves as people. I know Anthony gets it (because a lot of times it’s from me), and I get it a lot (a lot of times it’s from him).

What is it that made Extra Life a success? Us? We didn’t do anything outside what we usually do. We sat on our asses and played video games and made stupid jokes and sang songs. That’s it. What really made it succeed was a strange following we’ve acquired over the last year. People who have put their faith in us for entertainment. People who trust us to rise up above our own self-deprecating ways and have fun. We let people laugh at our expense. We let people join in on ridiculous inside jokes and silly moments. We become a family. A group of friends brought together by trivial little things.

Most of us don’t know each other on a personal level. We don’t know each other’s pains. All we know is the little moments. The jokes and the silliness. And it’s that which truly made Extra Life a success. 48 hours of hilarious conversation, inside jokes, and tons of community effort. That money came from people who came to US. They came to us because over the last year they’ve always come to us. The success of it came from all the little moments over the last year, all the blogs and streams and songs and jokes and status updates and skype chats and video game arguments, all of that. All of that from the last year really drove us all to be able to achieve that.

And it’s made me realize, that while my life may not be the sum of all success right now, I’ve always had those moments. Be it here or somewhere else. I’ve always had jokes and laughs and little things that have helped me keep going. Think of it as a “forest for the trees” metaphor.

Or even better, think of it as a staircase. Sure, the stairwell helps, but it’s each step that gets you closer to the top.

When I think back at what happened with Extra Life, an emotional wave washes over me. I get choked up and tear up every time I think about it. Not because I feel successful, but because I realize WHY it was a success. Because of all the work we’ve put in, we’ve given people a means to achieve that as a group. We’ve become part of something that is so far beyond us. All those little moments build up, and it’s become something awesome. Nothing is more humbling than to know two awkward dorks can gather a group of normal people together to really change something. To really move forward for the better of humanity as a whole. To achieve something as a cohesive unit.

All the petty shit is left behind, and we all move forward without any effort. Everyone carries each other, and it’s really a remarkable thing. Something that has altered my life for the better. It’s given me faith in human connection, something that I said earlier is important to me. And it’s done so with the benefit of people less fortunate than myself in mind. It’s not about me, or Anthony. It’s about everyone. Every person that commits to each other and creates those little moments for everyone else. We all create those moments. And we all reap the benefits.

I will forever cherish that Extra Life event. It’s taught me so much, and truly touched me in a way nothing else has. So much so that I am dedicated to make next year’s even bigger and better. Not with the goal of raising more money, but with the goal of making it even more memorable and fun no matter the amount raised. It’s not about the end goal, its about the journey.

So again, thank you all. For every little moment that’s made a shit life less shit.

I really hope other people can take something from this. And look at all the little things, not just the big picture. There’s more to life than you expect. You just have to be willing to make small things more important sometimes.

-Bob

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