Beginning of the end
An interview with Preston “Ender_Blade” Meek
By Cam Alsbrook
Preston “Ender Blade” Meek of the Cameron Pickaxes’ Super Smash Bros. Ultimate division has been on the team since its inception in Fall 2019.
over the course of the past year, Meek has worked hard to improve his skills in the game, pushing his technical ability as much as he can.
Meek said that he has noticed his improvement, learning from the friends he has on the team.
Pickaxe player Micah Elroy said that Meek’s growth rate for learning the game has been phenomenal.
“If there was a most- improved trophy, it would go to him,” Elroy said. “He went from not understanding how the game works to going toe- to-toe with some of the top players from both our team and our region.”
Meek’s first local event with the team was at the Extra Life charity event.
“My favorite experience being on the team is probably last semester,” Meek
said. “Due to being able to go out of town to a tournament with most of our players and having so much fun together while also being able to experience and learn from the tournament as well.”
Meek joined the esports team due to a shift in interest, originally considering trying out for the League of Legends division.
“I had played ‘Smash’ in the past, but only casually,” Meek said.
“It wasn’t until I met a new friend through a different program that I started getting more interested in ‘Smash’. He is one of the top players of the area, and we hit it off immediately. It was then I asked to play some ‘Smash’ together. He started showing me tips and tricks and just
overall helped me learn to enjoy the game while being competitive at it. It was at then I realized I also wanted to try out for the ‘Smash’ team.”
Meek said that during COVID-19, the team has adopted schedule changes to break the team up into smaller groups.
“We have scheduled practices that are based around our schedules that don’t last long and are only once a week, allowing me to still easily do my class work while practicing with my teammates,” Meek said. “Also, during free time, some of us might get on the online mode together and practice.”
Meek also gave advice for students. “My advice for fellow students during
the semester is to not let your dreams just be dreams,” Meek said.
“Make those dreams into a reality by reaching out for them and working towards them any way you can. I started out on the ‘Smash’ team as the absolute worst player on the team in my opinion.
Everyone and I mean everyone beat me without breaking a sweat most of the time. It wasn’t until I dedicated myself to learning and applying my new skills and knowledge that I got better. Now can beat most of my teammates pretty evenly now.”
Despite that, Meek credits some of the issues he faces to a lack of match-up knowledge between his characters and others, as well as still understanding how the game processes inputs with the buffer system it has.
When it comes down to continued learning of the game, Meek said that he plans to work on technical skill and mentality.
“I hope to improve on my combos as well as my patience at times.” Meek said. “I can get nervous and rush too fast at tournaments, making low level mistakes I normally wouldn’t make playing against my friends.”
Meek’s playstyle for the game is determined in the moment, prioritizing adaptability against his opponents.
“I adapt from playing very aggressive not giving my opponent room to think to playing defensive and punishing every mistake the opposing player does,” Meek said.
Elroy said that he wishes people understood that the game is very intricate despite its casual appearance.
“I wish people understood that it isn’t a game you can pick up and play for a couple of days and hop into competitive expecting to win,” Elroy said. “Just because you beat your friend group doesn’t mean you can win a tournament first try.”
Elroy also said that he learned perseverance and willpower for the game from Meek’s journey of growth.
“I learned that there is a way to keep a solid attitude and mindset despite things not going your way,” Elroy said. “Preston had to learn by losing. Yet he would always take it with a smile on his face and contemplate what he did wrong.
Eventually, he started taking games off all of us.”
If not ‘Smash Bros. Ultimate’, Meek would be competitively involved in a popular first-person shooting game title.
“If I could play another game competitively It would probably be ‘CS:GO’ [Counter-Strike: Global Offensive],” Meek said. “Just because of the number of hours I have put into the game and the enjoyment I get when playing it with friends.”
Whether ‘Smash’ or elsewhere, Elroy and the other members of the Pickaxes’ ‘Smash’ Division agree that Meek brings an unreplaceable, positive energy to the team.