The only way to gain experience is to do something…a lot. That notion about putting in 10,000 hours before achieving mastery of any skill? Totally true.

Those first thousand hours, that first go-round - it’s rough. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to have edges you need to knock off and smooth out. Then there will be moments you feel like you’ve got it figured out, that you’ve got some innate talent that will allow you to shave a few thousand off that ten, that practice is nonsense, and that’s the moment before you get the wind knocked out of you.

The NASL is putting a cap on their first thousand hours this weekend, and they’ve had the wind knocked out of them a fair number of times. Some of their knocks were self-inflicted, and some came at the hands of other projects and competitors.

For their first season, it was not bad, even if it was clear they bit off far more than they could chew. But the root cause of their bumps and bruises is that they decided they could jump straight to their 5000th hour, that they could pop open a stream and be just as great if not greater than people who had been organizing leagues and doing shows for years before, and charge admission for their virtual audience.

Nothing we saw this season would have been worth the twenty-five dollars. The price tag and the whole ‘hey, we’re still figuring this out, we’re new at this, lol’ attitude are fundamentally incompatible.

Around three months after they began, it’s not quite clear they’ve gotten the message. And the guy who was out front on this project, their main shill, the lead bastion of optimism about how the NASL was going to change everything in North America, is jumping ship.

It looked great on paper. The best Starcrafters in the Western Hemisphere. Matches nightly for weeks on end. But they couldn’t execute. Yea, they’ve gotten through this season, but by the scruff of their neck. They barely kept the fucking wheels on.

I mean, honestly, this photo sums it up, even sans the cheeky commentary tossed in via Paint. What the hell do you need a sixty channel console for? And why do you rent all this shit and not hire someone who knows how to operate it, someone who has put in their 10,000 hours producing audio? How much larger would the audience had been yesterday if there had not been so many audio problems? How many times will they fuck that crucial part of a stream up before they learn?

I’m convinced they never will; it’s clear this, from the start, has just been one giant elaborate willy waving party, and not a sports league.

And now the news they’re adding Heroes of Newerth? WHY? This is the point where they lost me completely; I wanted to hold some optimism that they’d learn from their experience and come back next season with a new set of priorities, focusing on the core of their production. Now I’m regretting ever thinking they could ‘eat MLG’s lunch’ - they don’t get it at all. Let’s hook one sinking ship up to another? Wonderful!

Some have wondered why I get so worked up over what an embarrassment this has been. Stuff like this reflects on all of us. It’s just the latest in a long line of groups that have over-promised and under-executed. It cements our region’s position as a place not yet worthy of investment or attention; second-rate in the esports world.