Francis Drake(1545?~1596.1.28) was once a pirate in the era of Queen Elizabeth I, but became a hero of the Great Britain after driving back the 'Invincible Armada' of Spain as a dubbed night of her majesty. He invented the modern techniques for naval battles, and was called the father of naval battles until the appearance of a carrier in World War II. (Of course there are gossips, rumors and contradictory opinions about him but I won't care so much about them)
This article will be my last one to ever mention about e-sports. Therefore it will be comfy and casual, just like when I'm talking to a good friend of mine. It will also be far from being noble and elegant, so if you're to expect that, you're better off not reading the article.
It was sometime in November 2002 when I first met Taegi. He introduced himself as a head coach of POS, a progame team and I told him I was a lousy writer. His first impressions were a 'dreamer' and an 'adventurer.' (He seemed somewhat inexperienced about the world, by the way.)
He introduced me two players in his team. One was Zerg and the other was Protoss. None of them was who I wanted to see, I must confess now. I wanted to meet a switch user called blueK, but Taegi insisted those two be the core of the team. I was not interested in the handsome Protoss player in any way, so I wrote an article about a Zerg player who would only attack his opponent like crazy.
Taegi asked me to write the very article to encourage his players. However, I could not see the future of that young sport even when I was writing. I thought he needed to learn to be patient to win a league. It seemed like he also needed a long time to realize that. (I thought his best would be quarterfinals in the starleague.)
The advance of July, which seemed impossible, was made possible because of four helpers. First, there was coach Hyung-seok Suh(*Translator's Note: He's a coach in SKT1 right now.) who taught him to be patient. He enabled July to have strategies, as well as broader views to see the flow of the game. He's the one who made a level C or B player escalate to level A. And XellOs and iloveoov also taught July to wait. Their hideous strongness was a very useful lesson, telling him that he could not win without being patient. For a victory, he learned to wait for a right timing to overwhelm his opponent in the fight without losing his aggressiveness. It paid off in the semifinals against iloveoov. I still remember coach Suh murmuring whenever July was in a battle; "One more Marine! Just one more!" At the same time, he was counting the number of Marines and Medics killed. (I thought this guy was a little scary.) And last but not least, it was Taegi who made July a big shot. He gave his word for July's victory at an interview before the finals. Some laughed at his being imprudent, but I knew it was a suggestion to himself and July.
And it was the birth of July, the strongest Zerg.
After I came back to Korea, the most appealing player to me was Pusan. His game style was exclamatory even for those who worked in the industry. Jong-suk Byun, a staff in Ongamenet Map Production Team, said Pusan would be 'a player who will rock the world.' He asked me for Pusan's autograph, too. Pusan had a power to drive progamers and people engaged in the industry - who would've been sick and tired of games already- wild and enthusiasic.
But even with his charisma to rock the world, he had a long was to go to fully show it off. He was brave, strong and fighting; but his pride was in fact what was killing him. I met him first when he was still in PLUS team. Back then, he was full of self-confidence that he could win a starleague anytime, if he decides to. Usually I would call this kind of over-confidence 'disgusting', but he looked too innocent for that.
I met him again after he joined POS. The team was changing the system under coach Yong-un Park, instead of coach Suh. This young man from Pusan looked so dissatisfied. He joined POS to achieve the plus something extra for the championship. And that 'something extra', for him, was coach Suh, who had disappeared just when he came. That was what made him so displeased.
His games reflected his instable mindsetting; he lost his charisma. However, he changed when I was about to conclude that a promising player was fading away. He began to control himself, and became patient.
Being surprised, I called Taegi to find out what had been going on. He mentioned 'trust'. He said he entrusted Coach Park with full powers, and coach Park showed Pusan how good he was.(It is said that Coach Park defeated Pusan, July and sea[shield] with Terran. It's his own words and I have not confirmed this with the players. Blame Coach Park if it's a lie...) Pusan gave in and asked Coach Park to teach him to win.
I don't know to what extent this is a truth or a lie. (I can always find out if I ask, but I'm too lazy.) But Pusan's games were very confident and humble, at the same time planning ahead. His early games were consisted with a 'do-it-or-lose-it' one-time thrust. (there was hardly anyone who'd defend against his push, but level S players-especially Terran- did manage to survive it...) But his games became more circulating instead of being straight without an option. And his indomitable spirit was a bonus, I guess.
And his changes were due to the pursuation of the 'patient' Coach Park and Taegi, who had put his trust in Coach Park.
The most charismatic Protoss, Pusan, was trained in this way.
The semifinals between POS and Hanvit in KeSPA Cup, was a close game that led to the Ace match. I was the one to be informed of the player choice, and I couldn't believe what I had just heard.
"Taegi, are you going nuts?"
While Hanvit decided to go with GGPlay, POS chose sea[shield]. You can say GGPlay and sea[shield] make a pretty good matchup now, but back then to choose sea[shield] was digging a grave of their own. GGPlay was known as the best Zerg online, and was already a starleaguer. (By the way, Coach Suh always emphasized how good GGPlay was even before he made an offline debut.) In contrast, sea[shield] was a rookie and was too insufficient a card to guarantee a victory. Moreover, POS then had two big cards at their best conditions, July and Pusan. (In fact July wanted to volunteer, and was very confident he would win.) But Taegi chose sea[shield].
Hanvit won the last match and went on to the finals, and POS stepped down to a playoff. When Taegi was waiting for an award for the 3rd place, I asked him seriously just why he had decided to go with sea[shield].
I don't remember the conversation word by word because we talked so long, but in sum it was like this; They could've made it to the finals if they chose July or Pusan, but then POS would have to count on the two players forever. For sea[shield], with so much genius yet with lack of confidence, he staked his team's fate on the young boy. It was a huge investigation on him, knowing that the prize difference for the 2nd and 3rd place was 5 million won and that POS was struggling with financial difficulties. And the result, as you all know, was the formation of Park-Ji-Sung line, then Kim-Kyung-Ho line, and the 'Ace-ization' of the whole players.
(Translator's Note: Park-Ji-Sung line is coined from three main players' original names - Sung-joon Park(July), Ji-ho Park(Pusan) and Bo-sung Yeom(sea[shield]) - to put them altogether, inspired from the famous Korean soccer player, Jisung Park in Manchester United. The same is for Kim-Kyung-Ho line; Taek-yong Kim(Bisu), Kyung-jong Suh(shark[gm]) and Jae-ho Lee(Light[alive]), after a Korean singer's name.)
There are two players whom I thought were real geniuses; one was the undoubtable Nada, and the other was sea[shield]. I've seen him improving day by day from when he was an online trainee as an amateur. There is an old saying that 'You can't judge a scholar's improvements when you don't see him for three days.' And it was just the case of sea[shield]. Even with one game, he was different from his last one. Light[alive] would prevail in terms of competence, but he is not as genius as sea[shield].
Do you, by any chance, remember what Nada did when he became a starleaguer for the first time? A genius like him made a mistake to lift his CC when trying to add a comsat station. (And he had won the MBCGame league already...) The more genius a player is, the more important his first experience is and where and how it's done. Taegi staked the chance to the finals to wake up the genius in sea[shield]. He became a big shot afterwards. (The only aftereffect will be that he's likely to lose a match vs GGPlay...)
The genius Terran, sea[shield] was made in this way.
As POS was discussing sponsorship contracts with MBCGame, Taegi had another man join the team, Coach Hyuk-sup Kim. Coach Kim is never a good gamer, worse than me. (I think I can beat him without using my left hand.) It was surprising to me because there wasn't anyone in the coaching staff who would not play starcraft as good as progamers. So I asked him again.
"Hey, what's that guy for?"
He explained his reasons, as he always had been, to my somewhat offensive questions. He wanted to make POS a real sports team. Coach Kim, who was a player in a pro baseball team, could teach the young gamers with the title of pro just what the "real sports team" was. To my impression, Coach Kim was a somewhat buttery man with a touch of Nippon look; someone that a plain man like me would like to keep at a distance. But I couldn't play a joke on him when I saw him sincerely thinking about what to do with the players.
At first he seemed to have trouble adapting himself to the team, but after all he became one of them. He showed them how to be enthusiastic and passionate. If you watch their games on TV, you will probably spot a buttery guy with sunglasses, cheering with the players. It was him who made the MBCGame players joyfully shout for their wins and come up with such delightful ceremonies.
Those who once were called Pirates of Space have achieved the championship in the name of Hero.
Their victory wasn't given for free.
They were the so-called 'third class' team without a single top-notch player; No winner and no star player at all. They started from the scratch. I bet that any of you, except Taegi, would not have imagined them as of now if you saw POS in 2003.
He believed that his team, without a single star player, was the best team ever and drew the blueprint. And the players followed him. The last save one gave birth to the first Zerg winner. They were more than often dropped off at preliminaries during Proleague, but became the champ after all, breaking the semi-playoff jinx.
MBCGame Heroes taught me that doing one's best with a vision would make any dream -however impossible it may be- come true. Being in the beginning of 2007, they give me strength to go on for my dreams again.
Wouldn't it be a nature of sports to encourage, impress and give power to start over? They sent me the best sports ever, in that respect.
Drink a toast for their future...
ps. Good job, Taegi. Hyuk-sup, you rock. Coach Park, I'll buy you a dinner. July, Pusan, sea[shield], shark[gm], Bisu, 910[Ete], Thezerg[alive], n.die_jaehoon, ruby, and other heroes, thank you so much.
ps2. Show your spirits in the Grand Final. I will be so excited just to watch your games.
Original Article by kimera
Translation by PurpleRain