TOG more than a community to me
From the day I first joined TOG, I knew it was something special. My skills were horrific and so was my playing style back then, but it didn’t matter; then as now, friendship and laughter is what this community is about, not your skill level. As long as the server’s full and TeamSpeak is packed and alive with chatter, who cares if you can’t hit the broadside of a barn?
The starting squad for Call of Duty 4 back then was TU (now Sparta), and everyone who wanted to go into one of the competition squads had to spend at least a month playing there. My goal was to get on to one of those competitive teams, so I was counting down the days until my recruitment period was up, excited and scared at the same time."Would my skills be good enough?” I’d think to myself, only to be quickly reassured that skill level is nothing compared to fun, laughter and team events.
I battled for what seemed like ages to master the challenges of the game, but no-one in TOG gives up, so I persisted and it did get easy after a while. The other Toggers were on hand to help out too; I was finding that the mid-range semi-automatic weapons were no use to me due to a slight nerve disability. After discussing the issue with a couple of friendly people in TS, I decided to master the art of close range and close combat tactics instead. The shotgun, requiring that persistence to master, is now my favourite weapon - and even somewhat of my trademark within TOG.
When my time was up in the social squad, I made my intentions know to my then captain, leader of the social squad. “I want to try a GA squad” I said, and he was more than happy to help a green recruit like me to advance.
So, with the help of a great DC (who has helped me out on more than one occasion!), I was soon on my way to Odin. With introductions quickly out of the way, it was time to lock and load – and didn’t I love it! The guys were great, the leadership team helpful, and a solid team starting to take shape. We lost several games but won just as many, and trained hard as you should when in team comps. The team worked well together, and I kept the team amused with my green skills (or lack thereof – when I think back, they were very green indeed).
Months passed and we were 46th on the ladder when we lost both our Master Sergeant and Lieutenant to Real Life. Team morale started to ebb, so I did what anyone in Tog would do: stepped up to try and lift the spirits of my new team. Morale-boosting posts did not come easy to me, but it seemed to work, and we came back together as a team and kept soldiering on.
Thanks to my efforts as morale officer, I was appointed the new Master Sergeant, which only made me dig in even more to lift the team when and where I could. For a while, it looked as though everything was going o be ok, right up until we took another devastating blow: the loss of our Captain. This would have been instantly fatal for many a squad, but Toggers, well, we don’t give in without a fight.
Discussions were held and we continued to function as a team, and I found myself in the lieutenant’s slot and Liking the challenge. A lot of CoD4 Tog members praised us on our efforts keeping the squad alive, lifting self confidence. We still see this sort of thing today, too.
However, it was not to be for Odin. A month passed and things were not looking good; were losing numbers in the squad and there were no new recruits on the horizon. Eventually, the sad day came when, in a Captains’ meeting, the squad announced it had to fold. “We don’t have the numbers,” we said. I felt broken. It had to happen, yes, but it still made me feel sad, not only for myself but my hard- working teammates who’d put in a superb effort, trying to keep the squad afloat.
In the end, it fell to me to post the squad’s final orders. It hurt and it seemed all the hard work we’d done was for nothing, but I knew the DC was right, and we were no longer sustainable as a unit. That realisation still didn’t stop me from feeling sick inside: I was losing good team mates and a great team. To this day I am still proud of the TOG boys who fought hard to try and keep us together. Well done lads – I’ll never forget those efforts.
So the squad disbanded, and I went to Wotan, another competitive squad. But things felt different. It wasn’t Wotan’s fault in any way at all, as they welcomed me with open arms and tried to make things better. I was off my game.
The Lieutenant of that squad, whom I hold in high regard to this day, picked up that I wasn’t myself. “What’s wrong?” he asked me, and, when I explained that losing my squad hit me hard he assured me that it was not my fault, and that I’d done all that was asked of me and more.
With the support of the Lieutenant, I kept trying to fit in with my new team, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d failed my teammates. I sunk even lower, and eventually the GameArena competition stopped being fun. In the end, I consulted both the Lieutenant and Captain of Wotan, and also talked to the new captain of social squad, asking to go back to social gaming. There was no drama, instead a lot of well-wishing; even though I suffered a defeat, TOG still gave me somewhere to belong. One of the best things about TOG is knowing that you’re welcome here.
I’m now the Captain of the Social Squad, and have tried my best to uphold the standards I was introduced to by a lot of great members of TOG. As I said, one of the things I love about TOG is that you’ll always have a place here; courage runs thick within the veins of TOG and its heart is its members. I’d like to end this by calling out a few members I’ve always held in high esteem:
* Chippie: a great guy who never gets upset and can always be found on TS laughing
* Splat’s someone who’s level-headed and hardworking with a calm and collected voice
* Geng is a friend and person whom you can talk to anytime, and a Captain I hold in high sregard
* Last Anzac’s a former DVC an all-round great person
* Chill is great leader who will support you through thick and thin
* Lowmount: a great friend and Lt who knows what to say in any situations
I could keep on listing plenty more as TOG, as it’s filled with people full of the qualities I’ve mentioned. TOG, to me, is more than a community: it’s a family, and one to whom I owe a great deal.