Tebow Time!

Tim Tebow!  There are many things to be said about Tebow, like the fact that he is a gifted athlete, was an amazing college football player, a devoted Christian, decent commentator, a true competitor, terrific role model and an incredible individual.  That last one is my own personal opinion of the individual that Tebow portrays with his charity work, overall demeanor both on and off the field and from the numerous reports that are out there about who he is as a person.  I can not elaborate on it much more than that as I have never met him.  All that said, Tebow has a long way to go before he can be considered a quality baseball player.  He has the tools and the attitude, but he simply lacks the experience and sadly, his name and fame will provide him opportunities, yet limited time to achieve success.                                                            Tebow2

Before we jump into this year’s MLB Spring Training, let us quickly analyze his NFL career.  If we are honest, Tebow was drafted higher than he should have been by all accounts.  He needed time to develop his passing accuracy, timing routes in particular, and adjust to the speed and brutality of the NFL while learning the game behind a veteran quarterback.  That is the case for most rookie quarterbacks joining the NFL, with the exception of those with a more polished passing skill set.  Unfortunately for Tebow, he was drafted in the first round, which means the fans/organization believe you need to start soon, and was placed behind a subpar quarterback who was more fill-in than the actual starting material.  Sadly, Tebow’s college fame led to fans booing the current starting quarterback after the team had a dreadful start and led to the organization making the call to toss him into the fire.  By all accounts, Tebow played like a rookie, albeit with some typical Tebow heroics.  The Denver Broncos made the playoffs in large part because they had a fantastic defense, but Tebow did his part to the best of his ability as a rookie.  That playoff game was not amazing, in terms of Tebow’s overall play; however, when the game was on the line in overtime, Tebow showed just why certain teams/coaches thought he could make it in the NFL.  He hit Thomas on a deep crossing route which Thomas took to the end zone, giving the Broncos and Tebow a playoff victory over the Steelers. After that game, the Broncos were embarrassed on both sides of the ball by the Patriots, typical of a Belichick-coached team against rookie quarterbacks.  Also, just like usual, the quarterback took the most flack for the loss and people began to question Tebow’s ability to play the position.  Remove the name “Tebow” from the scenario and replay the season and you’ll get a different reaction from the critics, of this I’m pretty certain.

Tebow1

So, this leads me into this year’s Spring Training.  The New York Mets gave Tebow a shot at spring training after a disappointing appearance on their minor league squad, even with the fact that Tebow had not played baseball for numerous years prior to the experiment.  The scouts admitted that Tebow had the tools (strong arm, power to all fields, great conditioning & heart, and positive attitude), but he was very green and needed time to develop.  Sure, there are tons of players who would love the opportunity to play baseball in the minors little alone the big leagues.  So, it goes without saying that the Tebow legend helped earn him a spot slightly ahead of the others, but that is no reason to hate the man.  He did not force his way onto a team, he simply tried to earn a spot and the team gave him the opportunity.  That is all!  As expected, Tebow has not played well in Spring Training against mediocre level pitching.  The Tebow critics harp on this and say that he is a joke and this was all a publicity stunt by both him and the team.  While I can agree that the Mets organization has likely used Tebow as a cash cow, Tebow himself appears to be very serious about the process.  He, like so many others, wants to play baseball.  As it sits, Tebow is 0-7 at the plate with 3 strikeouts.  Now, I do not keep up with sports to the level that I used to, yet I can type in any sports website and that will be a headline.  There are numerous other players who have gone hitless or close to it this spring.  Dee Gordon, a 6-year pro and starting second baseman for the Miami Marlins, is currently sitting on a .143 batting average so far this spring, as is Jason Werth of the Washington Nationals.  These are seasoned MLB pros, yet they have not gotten into a groove yet this spring even though they have had just as many plate appearances as Tebow.

There are also numerous other players out there who are struggling, pro’s or not, and there are many young players who are shining as well.  The problem is the press and the fans!  The pressure for a household name like Tebow is immense.  Remove the Tebow name, and it becomes a non-story and likely the player in question will get a chance to continue improving in the lower ranks until their name is called.  I would be surprised if Tebow gets that chance being as how the baseball critics, veterans and even some coaches are already piling on.  If this were just another guy with the right tools, they would not be calling the guy a clown or a sideshow, they would say that he was simply green and needed more at-bats, but the potential was there.  I truly hope that Tebow continues to pursue the sport for a few different reasons.  First, he is a talented player with a firm determination to succeed, so if he continues to strive for improvement he can get there.  That is something I wish for everyone.  Second, I want to see him beat the odds and prove the critics wrong.  It will be an uphill battle as he has, what I expect to be, a more limited window than some other players due to his fame.  Lastly, Tebow is the kind of player that I would want my future children to see as a role model, aside from family of course.  The sports entertainment industry is filled with individuals who do not necessarily fit the criteria of an ideal role model.  Honestly, many probably do not wish to be seen that way, yet their celebrity has catapulted them into the position nonetheless.  The world has enough successful athletes who have failed at being a role model; it is high time the sports world gets a role model of quality, like Tebow.

If not, at least there is still Mike Trout!

Advertisements

Follows: Do they matter?

For any who have read my past blogs or personal memoirs, whatever you wish to call them, you may recall that my first ever blog was roughly a month ago.  Everything has a beginning was viewed roughly four times on the day it was published and is now up to eleven views.  As my first ever blog post and the fact that I was new to social media the low number of views is not that surprising to me and subsequent posts have not netted much in the way of views either.  While I do plan on touching on that particular subject, later on, the focus of this post is not solely on views but will address the concept of “Follows” and whether or not they actually matter.

Anyone who has entered into the world of social media understands what a “follow” is and what it is conceptually designed to do.  However, in hopes of clarifying my thought process allow me to give my interpretation of the word as it pertains to social media platforms.  To “follow” someone, you are more or less subscribing (free version) to their thoughts, ideas, and creations.  By hitting that button, you have told them that you want to be updated whenever they decide to post something new on social media.  That is all, nothing more or less.  Now a “follow” comes in different forms depending on the social media platform, but for this post, I will focus primarily on WordPress, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Vidme.  Now YouTube, in particular, uses the term “subscriber” the same way that the others use “follow”, in that you are willing to see what the individuals have to offer in the way of content, but you are not going to pay for it.  However, on Twitch a “subscriber” is an individual who is paying you for a service.  Hopefully, I have not lost you yet with all the specifics, but I believe the technicalities are important to the message.

When I first began creating videos on YouTube publically, I had a grand total of two subscribers (friends) and would only receive views from those two individuals, one of which who would never remember to “like” my video.  So, in hopes of gaining additional subscribers, I joined Twitter.  After a couple of weeks, my Twitter account rose to just over twenty followers, but my YouTube subscriber base remained the same.  I then joined a forum for aspiring YouTubers called YTtalk and began interacting with that community and posting links to my videos there.  My posts would receive “views” but my channel only received one additional subscriber and my video view count did not go up by very much at all.  So, in hopes of expanding my outreach further, I created my blog site, joined an active community on Twitter called TeamEmmmmsie, and began posting my videos on Google+, Tumblr, and Vidme.  As I type this, I realize that I should probably link all my sites as a way of further promotion, but in hopes of not coming off as too self-centered, I will not.  Anyway, I hoped that after everything, I would begin to see progress.  Guess what?  I did, but not in the way I expected.

My Twitter account has exploded (in my view) to over 350 followers, my Twitch account (that I do not use) has 41 followers, my blog currently has 7 followers, Vidme account has 27 followers and my YouTube channel now has 17 subscribers.  Now, I am not going to say that I am unhappy with the changes as I am quite pleased.  Is it the growth of others, certainly not, but I am happy with the changes for a particular reason.  For me, it is my YouTube view count versus my subscriber count.  The majority of my videos has a positive view to subscriber ratio which is important to me in that it potentially means that my subscriber base actually watches my videos.  Is it possible that only a few subscribers watch the videos and the rest are from external sources?  Yes, and is most likely the case, but I that is only an assumption.  So why is that important to me?  Its importance and whether or not “follows” matter are identical.

If I have 17 subscribers on YouTube and my video gets close to that number of views, then I have (in concept) provided the entertainment to those who have freely asked to receive it. Now, they did not “like” the video, but I do not judge any video by the “like” or “dislike” option as it is not a wholly reliable source.  So, you are likely asking why I believe having a fairly even subscriber to view ratio is relevant.  Allow me to further explain.  If you have a subscriber or follower base of 1000 people, yet the videos, streams, or blogs you produce see only a small fraction of that in views, then exactly what is their purpose?  An inactive follower or subscriber is dead space.  This excludes “Twitch subscribers” who are paying customers, so if they are paying a monthly fee to never watch your stream then so be it.  Now, here is the rub.  For some individuals, not all mind you, the “follow” or subscriber number is the goal because sadly it has the possibility to attract new followers/subscribers.  I call this the herd mentality.  For instance, if someone sees a group of people standing in line at the door of a store, they will simply assume it is the waiting line to enter the store.  Sure, some will ask the last person in line if they are waiting to enter, but a vast majority will simply follow those already standing there, hence the herd mentality.  So, if someone sees a new YouTube video posted and the person who posted it has thousands of subscribers/followers, then they will simply assume that the person has great videos or streams and will click on that video over the one made by the individual who has less than a dozen subscribers/followers.

This type of thinking is why you often see “Sub 4 Sub” or “Follow 4 Follow” messages floating around.  Now, this does not mean that everyone who has hundreds or thousands of followers/subscribers and minimal views has gained their base by such practices, nor is it a way of trashing them.  I am just pointing out what I have seen during my short tenure. So, to provide an official answer to the question of whether or not follows matter?  Yes and no.  I know that is not the answer you were wanting because we all know that draws are horrible and that there should always be a clear winner, but in this case, it is truly up to the individual.  For some, the tally is the goal, even if the number is not a direct reflection of support.  As for me, and others I am sure, the tally is great but would certainly prefer to have my follower/subscriber number accurately reflect the support received.  Now, does this mean that I would delete my accounts if I suddenly received hundreds and thousands of followers/subscribers?  No!  I would welcome them all and hope that in time they would all enjoy the content I provide.

 

Overwatch: Support Woes

Overwatch is an online team-based first-person shooter in which players must work together as a team to secure the match objective.  There are three primary match types (assault, escort, control) that take place on several different maps, as well as, hybrid matches for select maps which incorporate aspects of the primary match types.  In order for teams to be successful, they need to form a cohesive group comprised of tanks, supports and damage dealers.  While there are certain heroes that are deemed superior to others within their classification, any combination can be successful.  Among the classifications, it has been my experience that “support” is, more often than not, the most frustrating to play.

The reason for this is that support heroes, excluding Symmetra, are priority targets for the opposing team and are very reliant on others to be successful.  Obviously, there are players who are skilled enough to dominate a match no matter the hero or class, but we are discussing the average player as that fits the majority of those who play Overwatch on both PC and console.  In the lower competitive tiers of Overwatch, which I consider to be Bronze through Platinum, if the assault heroes are incapable of quickly killing the enemy in a team fight or the tanks are more reckless and less protective, the matches become very difficult.  Similar could be said about playing a tank or assault; however, an average player in those roles is often more capable of protecting themselves, either by properly selecting the battles they will fight or by playing defensively.  Support heroes do not often have that luxury.  The enemy and your team often dictate the engagements, and even if you remain close to your teammates, you are still reliant on their ability to quickly eliminate the opposition.

For those who are thinking that this seems a bit of a one-sided view, allow me to clarify my meaning.  Overwatch is not your typical MMO triad of Tank, Healer, DPS, though each hero does fall into those particular categories at times, there is only a handful that falls firmly into those categories, while the others are a bit more flexible in how they can be played.  For instance, Winston is a “tank” hero who has the ability to harass the enemy backline by jumping over their defenses and directly onto their support heroes, and then jumping back toward his team and providing “tank” support.  If you are playing as support and an enemy Winston jumps on top of you, you will have limited options depending on the situation and the support hero you are playing.  However, given equally matched players, the Winston will likely kill you before you can kill him, so fighting is often futile.  You could try to outrun him, but Winston is a mobile character with an auto-aim weapon, so even moving erratically won’t completely save you and you’re unlikely to outrun him if he’s persistent.  So, that leaves you with having to rely on your team to react appropriately and focus the Winston to either force him to leave through damage or come protect you from the damage as best they can.  The other heroes within the non-support classes are better equipped for such a situation, though there are a few exceptions.

Now, this is not a rant to discredit what the other classes bring to the game, on the contrary, I am saying that non-support classes are more important than some may believe.  Support heroes are there to try and keep a team alive; however, tanks and damage classes have to perform their primary roles while also ensuring that their supports are protected.  Make no mistake each team will need the correct combination of heroes in order to be consistently successful; however, even selecting the best hero for each role pales in comparison to properly playing each hero and supporting your team as you should.  Maybe I am slightly off-base with my opinions, but as someone who played primarily as either tank or assault through the first two competitive seasons and then switched to support in the current season, my thoughts reflect my experiences.  Playing as tank and assault during the first two seasons, I always felt like I had some control over the outcome of the match, whether it be killing Genji with Winston as he dashed into our backline or picking Pharah out of the skies with McCree, I always felt that if I just worked a little harder or made fewer mistakes I could make a difference.  In the current season, as a support, it feels more like walking a tightrope during a hurricane.

Why make YouTube videos?

Today I spent several hours sitting at my computer tinkering with editing software in hopes to developing a new “highlights” video that I could place on YouTube tomorrow.  While battling through the trials of syncing audio with video clips and filtering through gameplay footage to find the short segments I hoped to use in the video, a question popped into my head.  Why on earth am I using up all this time to make YouTube gaming videos?

So, why make YouTube videos?  It is a question I asked myself a couple of years ago as well when I first thought of the concept and ultimately chose not to pursue.  However, a few months ago, October to be exact, after prompting by one of my friends I decided to create a few videos in which I analyzed and discussed my competitive matches.  There were two reasons I chose to do this:  to better explain my gameplay to my friend in hopes of helping us both improve our gameplay and because I simply wanted to play around with video editing.  Obviously, I have never taken any classes that would properly introduce me to the world of video editing I simply watched a few YouTube videos and then jumped into the Movie Maker and gave it a go.  In a way, I had a leg up on some first timers in that I already had recording hardware/software thanks to my Nvidia graphics card and Movie Maker was already installed on my computer and being a gamer I already had a headset with a microphone so the only thing standing in my way was simply editing the video.

Needless to say, my first video was and will forever remain a piece of “art” that I shared with my friend alone.  They enjoyed it and asked me to create another video though this time I was to use their gameplay which I would gather by spectating their match.  Again, equipped with my simple tools I went to work and created another masterpiece.  I ended up making close to eight videos before I realized that I enjoyed making the videos, but I felt limited by both my knowledge and resources.  As such, I made a small investment and purchased some mid-ranged video editing software and upon first using the software I simply fell in love.  The next 5-10 videos I made improved dramatically and it was at this point that it was suggested that I place one or two of them on YouTube for the public to see.

As we all know, doing things with or for family and friends is one thing but to present your work to the public is a completely different animal altogether.  Obviously, I was not too keen on the idea but after much prompting, I uploaded my first ever video to YouTube.  I mean what did I truly have to lose considering the only thing anyone would ever know was that Ncommunicado posted a YouTube video, not to mention the fact that YouTube is over-saturated with gaming videos to the point mine would likely never be seen by anyone.  Sadly, the latter proved true and left me feeling a bit downtrodden.  I mean, I did not expect it to go viral or anything close to that, but I at least thought it would receive at least ten views.  What I received was four total views after being “public” for nearly two weeks.

After my disastrous opening exhibition, I decided to dig into things a bit further and quickly realized that this was the norm more so than an oddity.  Without assistance or that glorious moment in the sun kind of thing where you catch YouTube gold, a new YouTuber has a massive uphill battle.  However, if you do your research you will eventually find that you are not alone in the fight.  There are other new and struggling YouTubers just like yourself, as well as several new yet more successful YouTubers who are doing all they can to try and help you along.  For me, I found a website called YTtalk which is a community where YouTubers can share their experiences, strategies, expertise, and their work with other members of the community in hopes of promoting themselves as well as others.  I am sure there are other such communities on the internet that I have not yet tapped into, but I am new at this and am still learning the ropes.

All-in-all I have been uploading videos to YouTube for less than a month, though I started recording and editing back in October.  Since the leap I have found that I tend to edit video or analyze gameplay footage more often than I actually play games, which is surprising and eventually could prove problematic if I run out of material.  However, it shows that even though you may have zero previous experience and marginal practical experience you can still try your hand at something new and still enjoy the process.  While my initial reaction to my videos small view count was discouraging, it has not derailed my enjoyment of the process.  The main reason for that is, most likely, because I did not start making videos to become YouTube famous or to make money, I started doing it because I found it interesting and enjoyable.  If I continue to only have a few views on each video, I am fine with that because I know for a fact that one of those views will be from my friend and ultimately they are the main reason I started making videos in the first place.  As long as we enjoy them and I continue to enjoy the process then I will continue making these videos and tossing them on the internet.

Everything has a beginning

Prior to beginning the story, let me first introduce myself.  My name is Ncommunicado, no it is not my “real” name, but I have adopted it across numerous social media sites.  You see, I am a gamer and have been for as long as I can remember.  When I first started gaming, there were not many games that offered the option of creating a name, although many allowed you to place your initials on the leaderboards at the end.  Nowadays, you create the name before you even begin the game.  I have changed names numerous times over the years, but Ncommunicado or some variation of Ncom has been my mainstay for several years now.  To answer what I believe to be your first question:  Why that name?  There is a story, though it is far from intriguing.  I chose the name because it is a play on the word incommunicado, which describes my gaming actions and real-life likeness.  While I can speak, I have always been rather quiet, preferring to listen and observe rather than join in or become the main event.  As such, Ncommunicado seemed like an ideal choice at the time, with the abbreviated version of it coming later as I chose different heroes or characters to play (as in World of Warcraft).

Now that you know my name, let us discuss blogging and why I have chosen to dive into the madness.  Honestly, I have always wanted to share my thoughts with others, but as described in the paragraph above, it simply is not something I often do.  I have no true direction or vision for this blog, or should I say I have no subject in particular that I will focus on.  The blog site is called MusingOfNcom for a reason and the reason is that I do not wish to simply focus on one or two topics, though I am sure I will have certain topics I discuss far more than others.  I can name a few topics right off hand:  gaming, sports, fitness, and adventuring.  For some, the idea of gaming being remotely related to sports, fitness or adventuring is baffling.  Fortunately, the belief that the only people who regularly play video games are overweight geeks who live out their days as hermits in their parent’s basement are far from the truth.  Sure, there are a few cases out there, but such cases are no longer the norm.  While this may be an extreme case, just take a look at Bajheera.

I seem to have strayed from my original topic, which may happen more often than not, so let me ease back into focus.  Why blog?  Sharing thoughts was one reason, next is to promote the Ncommunicado YouTube channel and to share my experiences with others as well.  In today’s digital world, we all have access to social media which means there is an abundance of individual’s to compete against for an audience yet it also provides an opportunity to reach so many people.  It is my hope that I am able to reach out through this blog, YouTube and other social media outlets and have an impact on someone’s life in a positive way.  I do not expect to save lives or greatly influence them, but if the words I type or the videos I create can in some way provide entertainment for a few minutes, then I will have accomplished my final reason for beginning this blog.

I am sure that as you read along, you will find grammatical errors in abundance.  I will strive to keep them to a minimum, but I can honestly say that I was never an English major, nor have I written in any form in the past.  I am a simple individual who strives to improve in some manner each day, be the best person I can be each and every day, and to try and enjoy this life I have been given.  I will surely make mistakes in my blogs, as I have made in life.  So, expect more from me in the future though this will surely never become a daily blog.  If you are reading this, you have my gratitude and my hopes that you will continue this new journey with me, both as a YouTuber and a blogger and until next time, see ya!!