It has been said that the Mountain West conference is “At the Peak,”
and to me, nothing illustrates that more, than the fact that there are 12 teams competing in the only NCAA Division 1 conference that sponsors e-sports. Of course, since the matches are played head-to-head, Boise State has an advantage because they tint the monitors blue, and play with all blue avatars; an advantage that is confirmed in their winning of League of Legends and Overwatch, but with the Spring season being cut, next year the Mountain West has announced that they will be playing Mario Kart 8, for the Nintendo Switch. Due to the large amounts of people in the Mountain West cities suddenly having $1200 burning a hole in their pocket, every store that sells Nintendo Switch has sold out of their allotment; yes, even, Amazon. So, thus the conundrum becomes: How can these players, prospects, and ordinary people practice in order to “git gud” as the gamers would say? Well, that’s where I come in. For, you see, since I am allowed out on the streets again, finally, due to both my prison sentence being cut short, and my work being determined to be “essential,” I had the time to scope out some places. Alas, while my cough and fever are not improving as much as I had hoped since I last got back from Italy, I did manage to find some time to visit all of the Mountain West cities in order to find the easiest place to get a Switch and Mario Kart 8 location. For simplicity’s sake, I am going by the football stadium since it’s a well-defined point in most locations – San José State fans, the football stadium is that big ovoid building at the corner of E Alma Ave, and S 7th St… It’s the place where the people aren’t on Saturday’s is September. Should you get hungry during your travels, I have also managed to find a some breakfast locations in the same vicinity
Okay, so I lied a little; I tried to get into the university, but, unfortunately the men with guns wouldn’t actually let me get beyond the gate on S Gate Rd, and I was still a little jet-lagged having just gotten in from Frankfurt after having woken up for my 0610 flight for the Linate to Frankfurt leg (stupid weather prevented the flight from Denver to ABQ, but my loss is your gain). So, while this may not be the closest, it certainly will fit the bill. Tyler-Jay Rowland who lives at 3075 Navigation Drive, in Colorado Springs was more than willing to help out, especially since his son, Jeremiah, was grounded for a month for staying out after curfew two weekends in a row. As the falcon flies, this location is 5.2 miles away; in a car, it’s not too much further than that.
Now, I don’t, technically, hate the way that Boise is laid out with the river running right through the center of town, but even though Maci Drew lives in the Clearwater Apartments, unit 323, which is in a straight line, only a quarter of a mile from the stadium, you will have to go the Exxtramile, to get to her apartment. Also, she would like me to point out, that times for a waitress like herself are a little rough, so please, if you’re hungry, skip Taco Bell, and eat at the Bar Gernika in downtown Boise, right next to the Central Plaza and Century Link Arena. “We have wifi” she said.
This is, by far, the most remarkable location; I had completely forgotten that they moved to an on-campus stadium, so I initially went to the Hughes Stadium location, and found a big pile of dirt. And not much else – well, if you exclude the trees that formed a nice line, that brought me back to my college days. Having corrected my too old Garmin in-car GPS, I found Tim Thatcher on 604 Balsam Ln; he’s a little deaf, so you might need to knock like you are ram-ing down the door. He bought the Switch after his wife of 35 years died to help him grieve and spend his retirement, “but it’s just making me too sad lately, and I’ve never been very good at vid’ya [sic] games. I still don’t know how I’m supposed to save the princess when she’s trying to beat me… That reminds me of my princess, who I lost last year. She was so kind, we met in high school, I had an onion on my belt as was the style in those days. They didn't have any white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.” I’ll be honest, at this point I started zoning out because, again, fever. He honestly looked really sad as I was talking to him, so you might want to try to cheer him up, since he’s just a lonely guy bein’ a dude. In a straight line distance, you’re only going .3 miles, and it’s not too much further by car.
This is by far the closest location to the stadium. The UNM Lobo Club is a non-essential business in the state of New Mexico, and UNM and the Athletics Department realized that funding would need to be cut dramatically throughout the state, and with the sweetheart deal they got from the legislature this year, they decided to close all athletic facilities, including the Maloof building, home of both Eddie Nuñez’s office, and the Lobo Club. I suggest using the side door closest to the field level entrance of the stadium. That’ll take you to the weight room; an alarm will go off, the code is “1892” the year the football team first played (interesting tidbit: the marching band was founded in 1889, the same year as the university); from there enter the main hallway, and go to the first door on the left after you pass the restrooms. The last time I was there, they had a vending machine that dispensed free Mountain Dew; I was howl-ing with laughter after I found that. Also, if you see Señor Manta, say “Hola!” he’s been down on his luck since his family were killed in the accident, and now he wanders the street like a lone Lobo.
It was like a bomb went off. No one was around; maybe they were busy playing Farmer, or having a bonfire out in the dirt behind the stadium, wit their brown-eyed girls, but Jeff Field’s dorm room, Aggie Village Community building 17, first floor, third window from the right (he leaves it unlocked, so don’t worry about access) has a Switch just sitting there on the bed, as though he borrowed it from someone, but never managed to return it before he left. Go on, take it, just say that it was yours and he left it, no one will check.
Cowboys and Cowgirls are just different, I guess; I could not find a Nintendo Switch in town for the life of me. I found many Switchblades, Light switches, and many wooden rods, so I took my horse down to Cheyenne, and found a recently laid-off Subway Sandwich Artist called Dom, who knew just where to look. He directed me to 803 West 21st St, Suite B. He told me, “yeah, the guy who runs this storefront, has a little son, about 6 years old. He keeps a Switch in his desk’s keyboard tray for when he picks his son up from school.” Because of the ordeal in Laramie, I asked him to clarify, and he did, “yeah… Nintendo switch.” He said as he looked around shiftily. If that doesn’t work you can always try Suite C, I heard they stock Switches… oh wait, not that kind.” I was going to ask him for more information, but he entered what looked like an abandoned brick building just passed the railroad tracks, “You didn’t see me,” he said. And I also didn’t hear the gunshots that went off as I walked back to my car.
|School ||Distance Driving (mi) ||Straight Line Distance (mi) ||Drive/Drone Difference ||Variance (from all schools)A |
|Air Force ||8.44 ||5.22 ||3.22 ||0.047 |
|Boise State ||1.00 ||0.282 ||0.718 ||1.069 |
|Colorado State ||0.420 ||0.312 ||0.108 ||1.792 |
|New Mexico ||0.206 ||0.191 ||0.015 ||1.920 |
|Utah State ||0.444 ||0.305 ||0.139 ||1.751 |
|Wyoming ||47.90 ||40.69 ||7.21 ||4.894 |
A: Variance is calculated based upon DDD’s distance from the standard deviation of DDD… Why DDD? Because, DDD is King. Note: SDSU currently does not field an Esports team; I am including them because it seems likely that they will in the near future
Hawai’i is interesting because the Honolulu airport has a much better open air location than the El Paso airport; there’s a water path, it’s weird man, it reminds me a lot of the Tiki Room at Disn… oh, yeah, Hawai’i, Polynesia, that makes sense. Anyway, the stadium is home to the largest swap meet’s I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I did not find any Switches, but I did find a guy swapping Macadamia Nut cookies for a few dollars, so naturally, I bought some. It started to rain, so even though many people are Rainbow Warriors or Wahine, as the women prefer to be called, I am not. I stopped in at the ‘Aeia Public Library for a spell, and my phone was dead, so I needed a place to charge for a bit. The nice librarian, Akela (“it means graceful,” I was told. After I asked, “like the wolf-spirit in Hindi myths?”), pointed out, that, “We loan out all sorts of stuff here; pots, pans, sewing machines. Believe it or not, we even rent out video game systems. Our most popular is probably the Nintendo Switch, but we also have a couple of Xbox’s and PS4’s.” I guess I looked very shocked because Akela continued, “with the military surrounding us, we, the library system, get a lot of goods from contractors who don’t want to have a lot of their goods shipped back to the mainland.” Seeing how much it cost to ship out, I completely understood, and bid ¬¬Akela aloha, and failed the Hawai’I test by passing out at the nearest Embassy Suites, in Kapolei, if I remember correctly (I probably don’t, I was tired).
A nice cow brought me to Clovis. Much like what happened in Las Vegas, it was not the cool one, but instead the one in California. She (I saw udders), brought me specifically to 264 Clovis Ave, and said, “what you seek, from my master, is in there.” I’m not sure if it was my fever, jet-lag, a combination of them, or something else entirely, but then the cow vanished as though she was just a thing on the internet. A stray puppy passed by me in downtown, so that was probably the highlight of the trip.
Look, I’ll be honest, Reno to me always makes me feel like I’m going to be leaving the city without one or both of my kidneys. I don’t know why I expect Renoirs to chew my body like a Pack of Wolves, but there you are. Diedre Thomas of 128 Keystone Ave, fell on hard times. She poured herself a glass of vodka, neat, and said, “you can have anything you want,” she paused briefly to wink at me, “for the right price.” I specifically enquired about the Switch, “Anything,” she replied. She pulled out what appeared to be a small glass bowl that looked like an incense holder, and a baggie of chalk dust, and… Oh my god, she was going to smoke cocaine. Anyway, as she pulled out the pulled out the baggie, I hastily took my leave. I then went to the airport and went to my next stop….
Nevada – Las Vegas
Can you believe parents still bring their children, like elementary school aged children to Las Vegas. And it’s not the cool Las Vegas, in New Mexico, it’s the one in Nevada; well, I guess, technically they bring their kids to Paradise, and not Las Vegas, but c’mon man, there isn’t that much difference. Anyway, head to the Excalibur hotels because Carla, the housekeeper said that on average 3 Switches get left by guests every day. I then felt really depressed while walking around the hotel, so I left to check out the Mirage, where I normally stay on these Mountain West trips. I also learned that if there’s one thing that freaks me out more than the throngs of people walking the Strip, it’s when there’s nobody around. Once the new stadium gets completed it will be vastly easier to get to the casino than at the current location.
San Diego State
I stayed with Dominic, at his house of Friars Road. I was starting to feel sick to my stomach with the lack of green chile, so it was so enjoyable to spend time with a fellow New Mexican (and my roommate junior year). He took me on a little tour: Balboa Park’s stadium (home of the former Harbor Bowl, and the first tie in UNM Football history), the USS Midway, and Ocean Beach. I had forgotten about the assignment until I looked down at my feet and found a working Switch. When it was still there after an hour, I borrowed a small boat, realised, I need a bigger boat
and headed out to the Ocean. Having claimed rights, I then put it back, so you might also find it.
San José State
Look, there are a lot of people who depart from the San Jose Airport. The kids who travel on these flights are slightly scatter-brained because of the adrenaline of taking a plane ride (and passing through the checkpoint), and leave some of their electronics, and I found a shoe! A shoe! Who only puts one shoe on and then walks-off? It was an adult shoe, so it’s not like a child/toddleparent left it, no, someone made a conscious decision to leave their shoe… Maybe it was a protest? Anyway, just tell the guy that you left your Switch at the checkpoint, if he asks you what color it was say, it had yellow grips that slide off, but the screen was bounded by black.
|School ||Distance Driving (mi) ||Straight Line Distance (mi) ||Drive/Drone Difference ||Standard Deviation (all schools)A |
|Fresno State ||4.46 ||3.28 ||1.18 ||0.644 |
|Hawai’i ||1.420 ||0.696 ||0.784 ||1.001 |
|Nevada (Reno) ||2.410 ||1.69 ||0.720 ||1.067 |
|Nevada – Las Vegas (SBS)b ||18.426 ||8.93 ||11.258 || |
|Nevada – Las Vegas (NVS)c ||2.125 ||0.590 ||1.535 ||0.391 |
|San Diego State ||9.861 ||8.08 ||1.78 ||0.252 |
|San José State ||6.575 ||4.60 ||1.975 ||0.164 |
A: Variance is calculated based upon DDD’s distance from the standard deviation of DDD… Why DDD? Because, DDD is King.
b: Sam Boyd Stadium
c: New Vegas Stadium (Allegiant Field)
Even if the stores are sold out of Switches, there are always places you can go to get them, some are definitely within walking distance of your house, maybe even right next door. If you do choose to do that, there are a few things to keep in mind: 1. Milk 2. Eggs, specifically from Natural Grocers, if they still have member pricing.