On August 26, a shooter at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida opened fire at the event, wounding 11 people and killing two, Taylor Robertson, 29, and Elijah Clayton, 22. This weekend, the organisers of Muthead, an independent Madden league, are holding a charity tournament to raise money for and honour the victims of the mass shooting.
The weekend normally would have been the start of Muthead’s autumn season for competitive Madden, the community for which has been slowly growing in the past few years as platforms such as Twitch have made it easier to follow and spectate online virtual sports the same way people do their real world counterparts.
The esports communities around games such as NBA 2K and Madden have never broken out in the way the ones around games such as League of Legends and Overwatch did, but the ties among the community that does exist do seem to go deep, possibly even because of the smaller, more intimate scale of the scene.
Because of the relatively small size of the Madden esports scene, many in the competitive community felt as though the attack in August wasn’t just a random act targeting strangers far away, but a much more personal tragedy. The “#WeAreMadden” hashtag sprang up, and like the rest of the Madden fandom, it underscored an authentic sentiment in the face of the game’s many corporate affiliations.
Over a month later, the victims of the mass shooting are still very much on the minds of many people, especially those in the Madden community, long after it has slipped from the headlines.
The Muthead League’s original season prize of $US10,000 ($14,155) will instead be contributed to the relief fund for victims set up by EA, along with other contributions from players and fans who take part in this weekend’s tournament, which is streaming over on Twitch. It starts Sunday at 5:00AM AEST.
Stop by the stream at some point to check out the human face of gaming’s most popular sports game, but also feel free to watch the many other esports tournaments going on this weekend. Play-ins for the 2018 Worlds Championship for League of Legends continue over on Riot’s Twitch channel. Play begins with Cloud9 vs. Gambit Esports at 2:00PM AEST today with another game at 6:00PM AEST, followed by two more series at the same times on Sunday.
In addition, Smash Bros. will be on display at The Big House 8. Matches began today and resume on Sunday at 2:00AM AEST. A full schedule and list of streams is available here, with Melee streaming on VGBootCamp’s Twitch channel.
Notably, Adam “Armada” Lindgren, one of if not the best Melee players of all time, will be sitting the action out having announced his retirement not too long ago. Instead, he’ll be joining the commentator’s desk for some of the matches on Sunday morning.