Sometimes I sit here in my chair, staring out my window at the four leafless trees, their brown bark covered in moss from the winter. The parakeets of West London usually in song, my eyes moving past it all to the small park, the other side of the path that finishes before the metal fence. A hedgerow is where my eyes stop. 175. This row was installed by my university to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2014. Yet I think back to a different time, that time being 2018, which seems a little distant but it is the point where I begin to reminisce about past events, one being the stage in Incheon. A lot of things happened to me in 2018. The good, the bad, the all of it in-between. I wasn’t there in person but I still remember the Chinese casters shouting “我们是冠军” (We are the champions), Rookie talking in both Korean and Mandarin to the crowd after winning the ultimate prize. Faker might have not been stood on that stage in Korea, but for sure it felt like he was. “Nostalgia is a killer,” I say to my friends sometimes over a few drinks late at night. It brings good emotions, a time of happiness, but then when you leave that dream and come back to the conscious world all those moments of serotonin are gone and now you’re here. Yet, almost every week I remind myself of the nostalgia.
The nostalgia of that stage, that journey, the words spoken at high speed, the complete awe of everything.
If you’ve tuned into my show, Boosted Bozos, you would have heard a certain ‘intro song’ I play just before I start. The song is literally called ‘Intro (nostalgia)’ by Korean group VICTON, from their album nostalgia. Every time I hear the first piano chord my mind shoots back to a random memory, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes there’s no emotion just something random I saw. For a few seconds, I just begin to lose myself in the music, then the beat drops, “rip it.” I come back from my little journey inside.
The instrumental piece stands as a welcoming to the album, or as it’s called an intro to the nostalgia. With the following song, being the lead song of the entire album, Nostalgic Night. Where the members sing about missing ‘you,’ in this context it could be a person, a lost love or a memory. That’s for you to decide. “그리운 밤” (geuriun bam), nostalgic night or the literal translation, ‘missing/a long night.’ That’s what nostalgia is, it’s the feeling of missing something and spending a long time trying to find it. Nostalgia may be defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past,” but it truly is the feeling of missing something inside. That something being almost impossible to describe because it’s different for each person, but we all recognize that feeling of something missing inside. I think it’s a very basic human emotion to feel like something is missing. It’s not very spoken about, because it’s mainly a thought emotion, even watching a film you can feel it, “ah something’s missing here,” or when you’re sat with a few friends drinking into the late hours of the evening, talking about times past you can feel it inside. That feeling of something eating away at you, a sort of hollowness appearing with nothing to fill it. That’s how I see nostalgia, a filler for the moment but at the same time, it can help find the answer to what is missing.
When I think of that stage in Incheon that’s my filler for the moment. The team who led a new region to the top against all the odds, fixing mistakes that they had made in the previous splits. Yet, watching this spring season portrayed a completely different regular season iG than the last 3 years. There are numerous things it could be put down to, not having a ‘head coach,’ or constantly changing the bot lane, not understanding the meta/not being good at it. Yet, no matter what the Reddit analysis’ say, the answer is pretty simple. iG’s time is changing. Being at the top for split after split is a hard task to pull off and in an ever-changing landscape like League of Legends, it’s even harder. Just like how Edward Gaming dropped off, Royal Never Give Up as well, it’s a cycle. Even after a sparkling five games against Rare Atom, which included one of the best performances of the past few splits in game four, there’s still something missing. For now, the baton has been passed over to the new teams on top. There’s only so far you can get asking a player who has achieved it all to carry every game. At some point, he cannot.
Will we see the silver angels back on the stage like in Incheon again? Maybe, who knows. That’s sort of the beauty of this team but for now, it’s a long night for Invictus Gaming fans, so as we sleep waiting for the sun to rise again, we have our nostalgic dreams of standing on top of the world for a day, so when we wake up we can look forward to filling our gaps with more of those days.