2007 was the year Team Fortress 2 came out and I went full nerd in an escapist attempt to shelter myself from conventional high school problems.
I went by "foster" in the competitive 6v6 TF2 scene from 2009-2014 and eventually became one of the top 20 6v6 Scout players in North America. I even landed as the starting Scout on the best Highlander team in North America at the time, 2013's Ginyu Force.
I got minorly popular in the minorly popular game for creating youtube highlight reels and, often that made fun of myself.
I had a full-blown gamer coming-out at my high school when I wrote my senior speech about the benefits of eSports to youth leadership skills and gave it in front of the entire student body. If asked nicely, I can drag up a copy of the speech (even if it makes me ill to read it 7 years later).
After graduating high school and leaving for college, I significantly reduced the amount of video games I played, and effectively retired from the competitive TF2 scene. I did start to dabble a bit more in streaming for fun, and even used what I was learning in my journalism degree to write an article for the Minnesota Daily about the TF2 community's charity event "Tip of the Hats".
After that, my video game interest flagged in favor of college friends, but was rekindled after graduating in 2017 when I bought a Nintendo Switch. My competitive interests since then have been restricted to active lurking in StarCraft 2, Smash Bros. and Rocket League streams.