Thursday, June 28, 2018

A long time ago, on a PC's far far away: 15 years (almost 16)

I don't expect this to gain traction from our very old and very scattered community but I wanted to take the time acknowledge something that was a very large part of my life and in many ways still is.  In August of 2002 I began playing Jedi Outcast and was invited to join EJA by its then leader, honestly it has been so long I've forgotten his name.  I was embraced by many of the members at the time and was enjoying being a part of a community related to my favorite topic, Star Wars.

As fate would have it, I would later take over as leader of EJA at the end of August - beginning of September.  I would then go on to spend countless hours, days, months and years running what was ultimately the greatest singular experience outside of marriage and fatherhood I have ever had.

I made more friends, many who I still talk to today and game with, than I have ever in my lifetime.  I learned how to be a leader a speaker a storyteller.  I learned how to handle people and when to let go of those people.

I never got into gaming to be a clan leader.  I never thought honestly that I could do it or would want to.  I remember when the members at the time asked me to lead.  We had a "senior" member Neon who was in fact the co-founder of the clan but passed on being its outright leader and asked me to take over.  He was a little older, had a family, so it made sense to let the teenagers handle it.  I hesitantly accepted and began learning and growing by the day.  I always prided myself on being fair.  I enjoyed speaking with people, drawing them out of their shells.  NoName is maybe my greatest success and failure.  He was young, shy and would rather just chill than be in charge and that is completely fine.  He was always on and always wanted to hang out.  Unfortunately we lost touch at some point down the road.  He took off and I never saw him again.

There are to many members from the past 15 years that I have forgotten unfortunately.  I do want to list a few members who not only became great friends but also some people who really helped prop me up and make me a better leader over the years.

Eagle, man you became an instant friend to me.  Young and crazy but always willing to step up.  Even made some maps for us that were always fun to play in.  I know you have moved on in your life and are doing great things.  Just know that as much as you've told me I helped you, you helped me too.  I miss you and hope one day we can catch up again.

Erebus, what can I say, you were like a brother in many ways.  Always a step ahead on dueling technique but felt like we challenged each other equally on many occasions.  Always had the most epic of  "Epic Duels" with you.  We too have drifted over the last couple years but I hope you are doing well and enjoying life finally.  You know how to reach me.

Ace, dude we've been through lots of games together over the years.  Started and never finished many ideas together and always pushing me to be around.  If it wasn't for you I probably wouldn't be gaming much if at all, you kept me coming back many times over.  Since you joined you've been an ever present person in my life and a true brother in the force.  I hope we keep this going for years to come.

Pyro, man I feel like in some ways I raised you, you were so young when we met and for a long time I was right there with you going through shit.  I am so proud of what you accomplished with your military experience and knowing who you are as a person and getting things done in your life through all of your adversity.  I hope we can reconnect soon.

Darth Vengeant, probably didn't think you'd get a call out and I'm not even sure you will see this.  You were always a conundrum to me.  A thorn in some ways but always there for EJA when we needed you.  You always kept the "star wars" in our group alive and I appreciate that.  I hope your life has become stable and I hope that if you do read this, it finds you well.  MTFBWY

Makha and Phyrex, you guys were a big part of our return in the late 2000's when we became "reborn".  You brought a spark to our community that we hadn't had in a long time and we really had some good years together as a community and for that I am thankful.  I have been part of your lives in a few ways and I am touched that you have worked to keep the EJA name alive, even if only in discord, and I appreciate that legacy.

To all the guys in the new wave (the last real push) in EJA like BigCat, Trinity, Hayate, many of you. I am bad with names right now sorry.  So many of you kept us alive, kept star wars alive for many of us as well.  Playing the game and learning new things and being a small part of your life has meant so much to me.

So many members from the past have come and gone yet they are always with me in many ways.  Valen, Squilo, Xtraneous, Nexile, CrazyKilla, Nerves, Prophet, Neon, Machin3, Aradorn., Vhost, Eramis, the list goes on and on and I know I've left out so many.

The entire point of this all is to let everyone know how much EJA has meant to me over the years.  It was the most stable thing for me as I grew up.  A place I could escape to and enjoy myself.  I know for many of you it was the same and I am glad it provided that kind of sanctuary.

Many of us have moved on from EJA the clan and keep in touch outside of star wars games.  There really aren't any worth playing anyways.  I play with Ace many times a week, talk to him every single day.  I keep in touch with many of the discord users when I can.  I don't think EJA could ever really return at this point, to many disparate games out there, nobody can really sink themselves into one thing, and thats ok.

I just want you all to know that the last 15 years of being involved with EJA in any capacity has been extremely meaningful to me.  Extremely fulfilling and educational.  I hope that everyone who EJA has been a key part of their gaming/online life can understand how unique we were.  We weren't competitive.  We weren't agressive.  We enjoyed the game, we had fun and we made friends.

To everyone who still games, awesome, keep it up.  I am around and play PUBG mostly right now.  I have started a new "team" with Ace and Bode (mutual friend formerly known as ducbutter) called Hardly Trying Gaming - Team-HTG.  Its representative of our lack of time to commit to getting good at a game.  We don't really know what we are going to do but we enjoy the gaming part lol.

In closing, EJA has been a huge part of my life.  It's been something that is part of me and will be forever.

I hope that everyone who has been part of it is proud of that fact and remember, the force will be with you, always.


Aaron "Jathan" Gilbert aka CptScooby