My name is Tyler Haynes, my tag is SETX | Tyler (yo.), (@SETXTyleryo on Twitter) and I am the head T.O. for the Southeast Texas Fighting Game Community. We consist of players all over Beaumont, Port Arthur, and countless other small cities around the Golden Triangle. Over the last week or so we have experienced the worst catastrophe that I have seen in my 25 years in this area. To say that Hurricane Harvey has utterly devastated this area is an understatement. Nobody expected this. Nobody deserved this.
Our area was not initially supposed to receive any more rainfall than what we receive on an average thunderstorm around here. That rapidly changed. Some parts of Southeast Texas by the time everything was said and done have gotten up to around 50” in a couple of days. Countless homes are completely ruined. People have lost everything. Currently the death toll stands at 70, and is rising. The worst part is how hopeless you are to any of it.
In this video, we are the area east of Houston close to the Louisiana border.
Through this many levees broke, and dams had to let floodwater go making the problems worse and worse. In some areas a little north of us, the severity of the message was clear, "get out or die".
My right-hand man and Co - T.O. with me is Roberto Obregon, his tag is SETX | Leonic. His home is one of many of our local players who over the course of a single night went from any other day to completely ruined. To show how quickly things happened are his own messages from that night with time stamps.
Throughout this entire disaster, I have never been so proud of living here. From the second that things started to go sour, people were out rising to the occasion and helping each other no matter what race, age, gender, religion, or political affiliation. Like many others, Leonic was rescued from his home by one of these citizens of Southeast Texas. Regular people, who had a boat, and knew they had to go out into the floodwaters and save lives, all before the government had a chance to mobilize.
The strength of our community didn't stop there, shortly afterward these shelters that contained people who lost everything were flooded with donations. When the Red Cross began accepting volunteers at Lamar University, where we have our weeklies, there was a traffic jam that took over an hour to get through to arrive, entirely from the sheer volume of volunteers. The stories go on and on, but the theme is the same. Our community is one of heroes. They will all say they were just regular good people doing the right thing, but if that's not what being a hero is about, then I don't know what is.
This leads me to my main point. FGC stands for Fighting Game Community.
Fighting games are the reason we all are here. For the grind to the top. Showing up to tournaments to test your skill and growth. The hype from beating a personal rival. The salt from losing to him. These are all the things that usually come to mind when thinking or talking about the FGC.
But the most important part of FGC to me, along with most people in SETX is Community. It's about the human connections you make with the faces that show up every week. Here in SETX, those people aren't just rivals, or friends, they're family. We grab food with each other, go out to bars for drinks, and are invited to each other's homes without a second thought.
Our FGC community mirrors that of the community of SETX at large. Harvey has tested the strength of our community, and we have come out stronger than ever before.
Since the very beginnings of the flood people made sure that we had up to the minute accurate information on the storm, emergency services, and tips on how to stay safe. The night of August 27th will be one of the longest nights of many of our lives as that was the worst night of flooding. Many of us were trying to save what little they could, and remain safe with the rising waters, as the others were calling what rescue efforts they could find to route them towards our players and giving tips on how to make flotation devices and getting on the roof.
Thankfully, even though many of our people lost literally everything, everyone remained safe. Shortly afterward you began to feel the full force of the community come out in force. Players were offering their own homes to house other players families. Many were offering warm meals to people who hadn't had one in days. When the water cut off for many areas, our players were more than happy to give what little they had to others. People in surrounding cities offered to drive out containers of their water and offer showers to whoever could make it out.
Once floodwaters began to lower, some of the ruined homes began to show themselves. Incredible amounts of manpower are needed to throw away every piece of furniture, clothing and other items, along with tearing down sheet rock, ripping up carpets, and bringing it all to the curb. Once again, the FGC offered everything we could. Many even felt guilty that they couldn't make it out to help because they lost their home and vehicle so were effectively trapped. Even though they had lost everything themselves, they tried their hardest to help others in their same situation.
There is still countless amounts of work to be done. Currently, there are still many houses with standing water that needs to recede before we can even reach the area. The highways are still closed to many communities where supplies such as food, water, and gas have a hard time reaching. The Beaumont area is currently on its 5th day with no drinkable water.
And I know without a doubt SETX FGC will rise to the occasion to help our own.
And we know we are not the only community affected. Corpus and its surrounding areas are effectively a blip on the map after the wind damage. You also can't even turn on the news without seeing the devastation in Houston. We have good friends such as Luis Sierra aka Pugilist Penguin whose home got completely flooded in Houston.
Penguin (right) running our stream at our last major
But outreaching to other areas is also part of what I believe it means to be a part of the FGC community. Travelling out to other areas, competing in their tournaments to test comparative skills, making your area known in the process are all part of the Fight Game aspect. But making new friends, making contacts and supporting them in their endeavors, and having them do the same back is what really makes the FGC great, and is making everything grow. A high tide raises all ships, especially at the local level.
Quince Easter aka Q Style (right) playing KI GF at one of our events.
So as we send out good wishes to everyone affected, so have they in a spectacular way. Many people from East Texas and Houston have reached out to us to make sure that we are all alright, and have come out to say they will do anything within their power to help us.
But if there is anything you can say about people from Texas,
it is that we are strong and proud.
Javi, the main TO of Texas Shodown and many other Houston events, reaching out.
On September 6th we celebrated SETX FGC's 4th anniversary of existence. In the grand scheme of the FGC we are still relatively small and new. We encompass some relatively large cities, but not metropolises like Houston. We may don't necessarily have the best players on earth, but we have people who are grinding and getting better every day.
OC I made to celebrate our anniversary, though almost 100 members are absent from the picture.
Over the years we have embodied a few catch phrases, one of the most prominent having been that we strive to be dollar menu (cause we don't wanna be free). But during the storm, one phrase caught hold that embodies us during the whole event.
SETX FGC Drowns in Pools, not Hurricanes.
This phrase mirrors the sentiments felt through this entire event, from coming together and helping out your fellow players to reaching outwards to other communities. Because if there is one thing that our SETX FGC does not lack, it is heart. We have the passion to not only grow every day as individual players but to grow as a community. I am honest in saying that everyone here is family, and we would do anything to help each other out. Fighting games are what bring us together, but the community is what gives us strength.
That is what FGC means to me.
I am sure many people will ask what they can do to help. There are countless organizations out there receiving donations. The smaller and more local the organization, the more likely they will be able to do more good immediately back into the community.
As far as SETX FGC goes, every year we have our major charity tournament, Big Money Battle For Broke, which hosts many games from traditional fighters to smash games. This will be our third time, and it benefits the local Southeast Texas Humane Society that helps shelter all of our local homeless animals. We know they will especially need it after such a terrible event the whole community just went through. Though this hurricane has delayed much of our outward facing promotion, we will be holding the event on November 19th, 2017 at the Beaumont Civic Center. Before the event, we will be fundraising to raise money for both the humane society and the prize pools. I hope that you can contribute to a good cause, and if you can make it out to the event. It will be the showcase of our passions.
Follow us @SETXeSports on Twitter for all the upcoming news about it.
We send good wishes to those in Irma's path, we have seen what storms like this can do from a firsthand perspective, but if FGC has shown us anything, it is that you can come together and be stronger than you have ever imagined.